According to the Northern Territory’s police commissioner, those who are critical of the government’s moves to push through tough new alcohol legislation should consider the women and children who are suffering in the NT because of alcohol abuse and drunken partners and parents.
The new restrictions include alcohol protection orders which will ban people who are charged with committing a serious offence while intoxicated from possession or drinking alcohol or entering a licensed premises for 3 to 12 months.
According to the Chief Minister Adam Giles this is significant because a staggering 70 per cent of domestic violence incidents in the NT are as a result of alcohol abuse.
The orders can be issued to any person who is charged with an offence that would attract a potential jail term of 6 months or more and could be implemented before they are found guilty by the courts.
Giles explained that if people want to avoid these restrictions, they should simply refrain from “bashing” their wives and don’t drink to such an extent that they end up punching someone in a licenced venue or drive home drunk.
The police commissioner, John McRoberts echoed the sentiments of Giles and said that the aim of the restrictions was to deal with those who behave badly under the influence of alcohol, he went on to explain:
“This legislation, as far as police are concerned, is designed to deal with harmful effects of alcohol and target those who behave irresponsibly,” Police Commissioner John McRoberts said.
“Far too often we see people mourning the morning after, because what started out as a pleasant night out for some has turned into an utter catastrophe for others.”
It will be up to police to stop banned people entering licensed venues and buying alcohol, and licensees may be provided with photos and names of those banned so they don’t unknowingly serve them.
One would think that this move would be bad for business and therefore would not be supported by businesses, but the Australian Hotels Association says it is supportive of the move because it helps staff of licenced venues who would otherwise have to deal with these drunken offenders.
The post goes on to explain:
“I don’t think this puts the onus on staff,” AHA NT senior vice-president Mick Burns said.
“It targets the problem, it doesn’t target 99 out of 100 people that do the right thing and go out and enjoy a drink and don’t do the sort of things we read about on the front page of the paper.”
The restrictions do have some critics who believe that it will criminalise drinking. The post goes on to explain:
Critics of the legislation say it will criminalise alcoholism and disadvantage Aboriginal people, and say that it’s more cumbersome than the previous Labor government’s Banned Drinkers Register, which created a centralised system for bottle shops and licensed premises to scan patron IDs and refuse service to those banned.