Hi. Welcome to a new column. From next week we'll post it on Saturdays. It's comment and opinion, not reporting. It's what goes through my mind digesting the week's events over a cuppa on Saturday morning or a whiskey in the arvo.
It's as much a reflection about the results of our reporting work as it is about the valuable contributions from you, the reader. Use the comment box below to let me (pictured) know what you think. ERWIN CHLANDA.
UPDATE 1:30 May 28: Police have now disclosed that the taxi's passenger, described as a 34 year old female, was issued with a liquor infringement notice, an on-the-spot fine. That means the owner and purchaser of the liquor was fined $100 plus $20 victim levy under Section 75(1)(c) of the NT Liquor Act targeting anyone who "consumes, sells, supplies or otherwise disposes of liquor in a general restricted area."
Meanwhile, forfeiture of the car may be part of the penalty the driver is facing.
UPDATE 10:10 May 24: Police are now seeking legal advice about the responsibilities of taxi drivers carrying passengers who have alcohol in their possession.
The Alice Springs News Online this morning put the following question to Police Commissioner John McRoberts: "If – say – a German tourist and his wife took a taxi, bought a bottle of champagne in a bottle shop, and then went to Anzac Hill to watch the sunset over a glass of bubbly, would the taxi driver be obliged to stop them from doing so?
"What would he be required to do? What would the police do to him if he did not act as the police requires?
Bear in mind that Alice Springs is also a prescribed town [with large signs at the entrance] where drinking in public is prohibited."
A spokesperson for the Commissioner replied: "The Police are currently seeking legal advice. Once there is a clearer position, I can let all the enquiring media know."
Police will be seeking the forfeiture of a taxi whose driver is alleged to have taken alcohol to a "prescribed area" in Alice Springs.
They have seized the taxi under the Commonwealth Emergency Response Legislation and charged the cabbie.
"The 50 year-old man was followed by police after his taxi was observed at a drive through bottle shop just after 2pm yesterday," says Superintendent Catherine Bennett.
"The whole community must take responsibility for minimising harm done in the town.
“Police will allege the driver of the taxi was aware the town camp was a dry area and chose to ignore the large sign at the entrance. "
UPDATE: Samih Habib Bitar, director of Alice Springs Taxis and former alderman (pictured right), says all drivers know that it is illegal for grog to be taken into town camps. He says sometimes people try to hide grog amongst their groceries. "It's up to the driver to check," he says, "to make sure their boot is clean. The company tells everyone to check."
On the possible penalty for a breach, he says "we all must pay for our mistakes" and hopes everyone "learns a lesson" .
The morning after, Alice Springs style: a mountain of wine casks in the dry Todd River, collected within just 200 metres of the footbridge (top left in the photo), put on display by the local alcohol control pressure group, People’s Alcohol Action Coalition (PAAC).
The group wants a "floor price" for alcohol pegged at the cost of the cheapest full strength beer, $1.20 per standard drink.
The booze sold by the Todd Tavern bottle shop (in the background of the photo), on the banks of the Todd, in these Renmano wine casks works out at 71 cents per drink, according to PAAC spokesman John Boffa.
But the manager of the Todd Tavern, Leonie Leach, says the correct price per standard drink for the Renmano cask wine is 90 cents.
Only the Todd Tavern and the Gapview Hotel are selling cheap cask wine. All other outlets in the town have voluntarily withdrawn the product from sale.
Alcohol restrictions are a major issue for the upcoming local government and legislative assembly elections.
Meanwhile at 1pm today (February 22) police arrested a disqualified driver who was allegedly drunk and had an unrestrained two-day old baby in the car, and on February 23 Opposition Leader Terry Mills said violent assaults in the Northern Territory are on the increase