Seats come cheap in the Territory, with only around $3m all up swirling around in declared campaign funding. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. PHOTO: On 2016 NT election night, Warren Snowdon takes a well calculated guess that Dale Wakefield will knock off Adam Giles.
The Palmer United Party will seek a Senate inquiry into the activities of the Northern Territory government following moves to scrap an independent investigation into NT political donations, writes the party's Federal Leader, Clive Palmer.
Chief Minister Adam Giles has still not confirmed nor denied whether he was given the use of a 4WD (similar to the one pictured) for two months during his 2012 election campaign without declaring this to the NT Electoral Commission. And the commission refuses to probe the allegation although a whistleblower is offering full cooperation. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
With the death of Kwementyaye Briscoe in the Alice Springs police watchhouse in January (the image at right was produced in evidence at the inquest), and the recent death of Thomas Kelly in Kings Cross, there is a rapidly increasing public awareness of the fact that Australians have allowed a national drinking culture to escalate into unacceptable levels of alcohol-related violence and self-harm.
Control of booze abuse will be a major issue for the August 25 election, yet neither major party will answer questions whether they get financial support from the alcohol industry and if so, how much.
Campaign donation figures available to the public are often from companies or donors whose connections to the liquor industry are not clear, but neither Opposition Leader Terry Mills nor Chief Minister Paul Henderson will provide explanations.
Take-away is where the money is (70% of alcohol sold in the NT is take-away). Agitating for take-away sales-free days is asking for a trade-off in lives over profit. Unsurprisingly, restricting this supply is not a popular call. In formulating the NT Country Liberals’ alcohol policy, Mr Mills makes the prima facie claim: “It’s behavior that’s the problem, not the substance.”
According to McCuster Centre For Action on Alcohol and Youth, over the last 10 years about 15% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds were due to risky / high risk drinking. On average, five Australians under 25 die from injury or disease caused by hazardous drinking each week and Indigenous people are more than twice as likely to die.
When an intoxicated Indigenous woman holds up her hand and stops a train besides the now ironically named, Little Sisters Town Camp, it could be that she’s saying “Stop!” to the free market grog trade decimating her community.
The tragedy is that it doesn’t stop there. If this woman is pregnant, the unborn child is likely to suffer Foetal Alcohol Sprectrum Disorder.
Terry Mills faces the Australian Christian Lobby’s Make it Count Election Forum at CDU, Darwin next Thursday, August 9 at 7:30pm. The webcast will be streamed live to the Baptist Church, cnr Crispe and Brown St, Alice Springs.
Paul Henderson, NT Chief Minister declined to participate. COMMENT by RUSSELL GUY.