Senate debates

Thursday, 4 August 2022


Alcohol Abuse

1:56 pm

Photo of Jacinta Nampijinpa PriceJacinta Nampijinpa Price (NT, Country Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

or NAMPIJINPA PRICE () (): In 2007, prior to what was declared an emergency in the Northern Territory, alcohol and sexual abuse were put on a national platform, shocking the rest of the nation. The Territory's Martin Labor government could not hide its inept leadership on such important social issues. Pat Anderson, the co-chair of the 2007 Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal Children from Sexual Abuse, stated:

Alcohol is absolutely totally destroying our communities and our families. There is no doubt about that. Something serious needs to be done to curb this river of grog. It's killing people, spiritually, physically, psychologically, there's a total breakdown in families when people are sort of drunk, most of the time, and everyone around them. And children are not safe.

Senator McCarthy's family community of Borroloola was showcased on national media, showing the devastation for the whole community as a result of the high consumption of alcohol.

Fast-forward 15 years and we are back to the rivers of grog flowing, thanks to another inept Territory Labor government claiming that the Stronger Futures legislation introduced in 2012 was racist. I ask: racist to who? The drunks? The victims of financial and physical abuse? Was it racist to the children who are born with FASD and have to live with the disorder for the rest of their lives? What was an emergency is now a crisis. I will hold to account this federal Labor government for the failings of the Territory government, because they are one party and they have power over vulnerable constituents.

Meanwhile, communities like Borroloola's are expressing grave concerns about the return of alcohol and going back to the old ways. I call on the federal Labor government to hold to account their Territory counterparts, as the member for Lingiari has so bravely done, for their failure to reduce alcohol-led harm and violence despite the coalition's billions of dollars of investment, in the name of human rights for all Territorians. These are the practical measures that I'm focused on for all Territorians: holding to account those who have been funded to deliver services and save lives but who have failed. (Time expired)