Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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CLP to introduce tougher bail laws

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

The Gunner Labor Government should be ashamed of its negligent failure to address the Territory’s crime crisis, which was showcased last night in a damning report by Nine’s A Current Affair, focusing on Alice Springs youth crime and weak bail laws.

The first thing Michael Gunner needs to do is apologise to every Territorian for this failure. The story highlights the raw pain, fear and violation that thousands of Alice Springs residents are feeling daily. They have been totally abandoned by the Gunner Government.

Those images delivered a knockout blow to our tourism sector. At a time when the COVID-ravaged industry is struggling to re-boot, the Northern Territory can’t afford our image on the national stage to be obliterated. The footage beamed across Australia last night did just that.

Now the nation has seen more of Alice Springs at night than our own Chief Minister. This isn’t a media beat-up, Chief Minister, this is a real problem that you need to address.

The level of devastation and embarrassment you have brought to Territorians is immeasurable. You don’t deserve to be our leader.

Territorians have long been calling on the Gunner Government to stop the revolving door of repeat youth offending. We passed crisis point when it was revealed half of all youths arrested last financial year were on bail and 75% of offenders dealt with by Strike Force Viper are repeat offenders. Our police need more powers, more resources and more support.

There is no leadership from the Chief Minister, so we will lead from Opposition and introduce tougher bail laws next week in Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro

UPDATE March 17, 1.40pm

The Government’s multi-million dollar tourism campaign to attract people to the Territory has been eclipsed by the viewership of Monday night’s damning report into the Alice Springs crime wave aired on Nine’s A Current Affair.

More than 1.5 million people have now viewed the report on social media, in addition to the 700,000 Australians who watched the broadcast on television.

That’s more than two million people who have now witnessed the Chief Minister’s negligent failures on youth crime.

Compare that with the around 220,000 views accumulated on the 23 separate “Seek Different” promotional videos posted to the Territory tourism YouTube channel – a campaign the Gunner Government is spending $2m to promote.

The tourism sector in Central Australia is in damage control. Operators have reported mass cancellations citing community safety as the main reason.

This is a public relations disaster. With an $8.4 billion budget black hole, the Gunner Labor Government could never find enough money to fund a campaign to offset the damage done to our tourism industry.

We can’t repair the image of Central Australia while we still have rampant crime and swarms of youths on our streets. Reversing Labor’s weak bail laws to address the issue of repeat offending is one way we can start to turn the tide.

The Chief Minister’s ignorance is shameless. In response to A Current Affair’s report he told media “there is no presumption of bail”. There is. He put it there. It’s in the Youth Justice and Bail Act amendments passed in Parliament by Labor.

Either Michael Gunner doesn’t understand his own legislation, or he’s deliberately trying to mislead Territorians.

Shadow Minister for Tourism, Marie-Clare Boothby

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Lia: Can you please link to longitudinal and peer reviewed studies that support your claims that tougher bail conditions on children positively impact their recidivism?
    You state that the ACA program highlighted the raw pain, fear and violation that thousands of Alice Springs residents are feeling daily, and that these people have been abandoned by the Labor government.
    Do you take issue with the fact that the program did not try to understand the raw pain, fear and violation that some Aboriginal children may be feeling, and why this may drive them to become “offenders” in the first place?
    Do you feel angry that these youth have been abandoned by the Labor Government? If so, why didn’t you say?
    You care about the tourism sector, but not about the children who are in this situation. Do you know their stories? Do you understand the disadvantage they experience? What are you trying to do for them as Leader of the Opposition?
    Lastly, are you aware that ACA is known among left, right and green to be a sensationalist and inflammatory news show.
    We could call it Murdoch’s holy cow.
    Don’t you think you should try and address news from more reputable and credentialed news retailers? I just think it’s a little shame-job that you choose to use ACA as your ammo, like, really?

  2. Southern Police Commander Craig Laidler says its not a problem we can “arrest ourselves out of”.
    If the CLP actually support the police and Alice community then they would be suggesting constructive solutions as opposed to more prison time which doesn’t reduce crime.

  3. Ha! Typical that it’s the CLP leader calling for more punitive measures to stamp out an issue that, let’s face it, was (and continues to be, mind you) a result of disempowering, demoralising and dysfunction-inducing policy from the Liberal Federal government in the first place (on top of the heaping mess of earlier government failures).
    Your interventionist rhetoric doesn’t fool me. Do you really think you would do any better?

    @ Hopeful: No ACA wool being pulled over these eyes.

  4. Lia: The CLP did absolutely nothing of value to address the issues you describe.
    But at least we had good insurance cover through our own TIO.
    CLP Chief Minister Giles sold our insurance company and squandered the proceeds.

  5. I am astounded that the CLP believes this structural issue appeared under Gunner.
    They could contribute to a long term strategy, rather than just score points.
    Has Lia been thinking for her 36 years that more prison = more tourism?
    Is “tougher bail laws” truly the only new CLP idea since Giles?
    Everyone welcomes in-depth analysis and policies!
    (And never let A Current Affair lead the CLP.)

  6. Escalating crime, out of control youth, a justice system with no teeth and people still want a talkfest and a blame game?
    So where is Mr Gunner?
    Why won’t he address the people of Alice Springs through local media?
    It seems the day after the A Current Affair story he cancelled his media commitments and took a day off to look after his child.
    As the Mark Turner scandal escalated he developed flu symptoms and went missing to have a test citing an abundance of caution.
    This limp Chief Minister needs to show some leadership and stop hiding and hoping problems will go away.

  7. Oh, come on people, we all know there is a massive problem in town. We know who the offending group is but to solve the problem and give Alice back to the good folk will take a strong representation from the whole community.
    Something like “Alice Springs Life Matters” or “Let’s Make Alice Springs Great and Safe Again”.
    There you go, a slogan for both sides of the political divide. If the Alice were to flood, some people would blame the water, some the weather, some the Todd River, some the season and some, the council / politicians for not putting in enough drainage and this is what the problem is with these kids, not enough drainage.

  8. Break in and glass thrown into the community swimming pool.
    Broken windows.
    Attacks on older citizens.
    Attacks on women.
    I’ve been here for six weeks, it’s a lovely town.
    But it’s very sad to read and see it happen.

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