Tuesday, June 18, 2024

The freedom of the press still furnishes that check upon government which no constitution has ever been able to provide – Chicago Tribune.

HomeVolume 28Driver's licence, drinker's licence?

Driver’s licence, drinker’s licence?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR (and also to Anthony Albanese, Natasha Fyles and Matt Paterson).

The Alice Springs big crime problem: As suggested in the press, “No alcohol on Mondays and Tuesdays” is a bandaid – if you intend to break the law, buy alcohol on Wednesdays to Sundays.

Positive action is needed very badly. Might the following be an answer?

The way we solve driving problems to an extent is to allow people to drive only if they have a driver’s licence, a card which shows a photograph of their face and is paid for annually.

The department that creates the Drivers Licence cards could also make “Alice Springs Alcohol Permit cards” which would also show photographs of owners’ faces.

The card would be purchased only by people over a certain age, say 21 years.

Rules would be made to restrict the amount of alcohol each card holder may buy; no more than $X per week or month (which may vary according to the drinker’s age).

Difficult, but modern digital technology could be used for the card … that would take ages and cost heaps.

Simpler, quicker and cheaper, a maximum amount of alcohol may be purchased per month in the efficient way we paid to ride on public transport decades ago. The card would have 12 small squares, January to December, and alcohol retailers would have a small punch device that makes a hole in one of the 12 squares for each monthly purchase. A new card is purchased each year.

No one in Alice Springs could buy alcohol without a card which is purchased from the council for a suitable annual price. Copies of the cards would be kept on file.

Smarties could pretend to lose their card and apply for a second one to double their purchase allowance. To counter that, if you lose your card, too bad. Wait until the 12 months are over.

If any card holder commits any crime, their card is confiscated with no refund.

Tourists may purchase alcohol by presenting their driver’s licence or passport showing their address in another state or country.

More Police are required, even if only temporarily, until the situation is vastly improved.

If there is not sufficient jail space, a small “Indoctrination jail” could be constructed whereby offenders are jailed for a week without a court order.

Apart from the large number of break-ins in the city, there are many reports of private homes in side streets being broken into over and over, incurring owners spending money on safety fences, cameras and alarms, most to no avail. Regular police patrols should be standard in all streets.

The above is combating the results of delinquency, education, bad home standards and lack of rules. An important second step is to move the bored and stupid young criminals into a better way of life.

A beneficial government initiative would be to set up a department that creates alternate and positive pastimes for the pests to divert them from crime. Money could be provided to the council and maybe the Salvation Army, churches, schools and colleges to create clubs for basketball, tennis, football, cricket, hiking, art (often big money in Aboriginal art), chess, playing cards, music, writing, gymnastics, politics … and on it goes … use your imagination. Out of school or work hours legal occupation is the answer.

Australia is paying attention more these days to the Aboriginal portion of our population. Alice Springs needs more attention by you, our Prime Minister, Chief Minister, Mayor and all concerned and willing citizens.

Lance Ross, Kooyong, Australia

IMAGE: Child witnesses brawling women in the Mall. Facebook.


  1. So all law abiding citizens are restricted? No. All law breakers should just NOT be able to purchase alcohol, end of story.
    That means [people committing] DV, sexual assault, breaking and entering any violent crime whether it involves alcohol, drugs or not should be banned from alcohol.
    We already show our licences so it can be restricted. One strike and you’re out.
    Not for law abiding non violent citizens!

  2. There was a banned drinkers register in vogue some time ago and people still have to produce drivers licences. So what happened to the banned drinkers? Are they still drinking? Stealing booze? Getting friends to buy it? Does it work? Obviously not.
    Changing hours and other things have been tried for over 25 years that I recall and nothing has changed. Casks were taken off the market some years back, and we’ve had thirsty Thursdays and ridiculous shop hours that everyone who drinks responsibly has put up with for the wider good.
    Even those offending have a given amount of disposable income to spend on alcohol so it matters not what hours the grog shops are open, people will spend that income. Some will steal it when they don’t have the money.
    Changing hours won’t achieve anything.


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