By ERWIN CHLANDA
What do the NT Government and Opposition have in common? They avoid answering probing media questions whenever they can.
On October 6 a CLP minder announced Braitling MLA Joshua Burgoyne and Namatjira MLA Bill Yan had “penned” a letter to Chief Minister Michael Gunner about “harsher penalties for repeat offenders and [demanding] that youth community work programs will be implemented to tackle young offenders” and quoting a resident that “me and my three neighbours got invaded last night – my deceased husband’s car stolen and torched.”
On October 22 Mr Burgoyne (at right, campaign photo supplied), again via a minder, said the government “must immediately implement the anti-crime measures it committed to in June … how long do we have to wait? How many people have to be injured before the Government will follow through”.
On October 23 the same “Communications Adviser” quotes new Barkly Member Steve Edgington as saying “unacceptable behaviour has been rife … for years” with assaults up 24%, alcohol related assaults up 46%, property damage up 27% and domestic violence related assaults up 46%.
And so the hand wringing goes on while the CLP continues peddling generalities, and elected politicians are hiding behind the door.
On October 24 we raised this with the Opposition’s only urban Member in The Centre, Mr Burgoyne, seeking an interview with him in the wake of the fatal hit and run, pointing to the CLP releases which are “vague and repetitive. I’d like to talk with you as a local Member in detail about the Opposition’s crime policies”.
Not only did Mr Burgoyne not front up for an interview, he didn’t even reply to our email nor text on the same day.
“What are the major initiatives you are advocating?” we asked.
“What social science are they based on? Please name the key five or so studies and their authors you are relying on.
“What is the public opinion about these initiatives and how is it being ascertained, for example, by surveys, and what do they show?
“What is the initiatives’ cost and time frame?
“What do evaluations of similar initiatives elsewhere show (name the sources, please).
“Is the role of the police merely responding to crime?
“Do they also have an obligation to protect children from harm, and if so how in the current Alice Springs reality is that being done?
“Give figures, please (numbers of kids, what actions, what results, especially any recidivism),” we asked.
“We have in the police southern command, per head of population, three times as many police officers compared to the national average. I will ask you to comment.
“I’m not interested in written replies. I am asking for a conversation, as most answers are likely to beg another question. I’m not prepared to accept hearsay and stuff from intermediaries, and as you would be the source, I need to talk to you.
“I’d like to do it on this weekend while the tragedy (the death of hit and run victim Shane Powell) is still new.”
Mr Burgoyne remains mum.
Photo at top: The way they like it – nice pictures, no words. Mr Burgoyne is the third from the left. Source: CLP website.