"Early scanning" won't nab banned drinkers until September 1 but in some "communities" including Alice you'll have to show ID to buy take-away booze and the system will spotlight people on court orders. PHOTO: Barman Ryan at the Gapview take-away with a scanner similar to the ones mothballed by the Giles government.
Requiring buyers of alcohol to have a permit, even in Alice Springs; making sellers of alcohol share liability for accidents or crimes in which grog is a factor; and motivating indigenous communities to divert already existing government funding towards reduction of harmful drinking: These are among measures called for by the two-day Aboriginal grog summit that ended in Alice Springs today, according to Priscilla Collins, CEO of the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. Ms Collins is pictured at the summit this morning.
The slamming – his word – by Chief Minister Adam Giles of Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her "loosely veiled threat to cut funding to the Territory if the Government doesn’t reinstate the failed Banned Drinkers Register" would have a great deal more credibility if the NT police, for which he has responsibility, provided information that would make the BDR debate much better informed.COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA. PICTURED: The leaked document. It seems to show a 50%, not nearly a 100%, increase in hospital admissions.
The Northern Territory Chief Justice Trevor Riley appeared to be expressing his support for a Banned Drinkers Register or something similar when yesterday in Alice Springs he sentenced a man to four years and nine months for a cruel, drunken assault on his wife.
An obvious step to address the "terrible problems" of alcohol in Central Australia would be "to limit the flow of alcohol to people such as" the offender, he said. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured: A drunken fight brewing in the Alice Springs CBD. Photo from our archive.
The Great Alcohol Debate: bring back BDR or similar, they say
Aboriginal peak organisations of the Northern Territory have called on governments to "base alcohol policy on evidence not politics" and to "bring back a system (such as the Banned Drinkers Register [BDR]) to restrict the supply of alcohol to problem drinkers without resorting to criminalisation". They have pleaded with governments "to heed our warnings about the risks of allowing more alcohol to flow into remote communities".
Action on alcohol by the new Territory Government is still lacking detail, despite all the attention the issue got in the Legislative Assembly.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice John Elferink, making a Ministerial Statement on Alcohol and Crime on October 31, lauded former Chief Minister Marshall Perron's Living with Alcohol program: "Risks were taken, innovation given a chance and home-made programs were promoted." Not all of them flourished though because "clear analysis of the outcome allowed for a rigorous assessment and many programs were stopped on these criteria". Reading Hansard you can't see whether he blushed when he went on to criticise the former government for not taking "a leaf from this book". KIERAN FINNANE comments.