Booze battle: Too much public service?
By ERWIN CHLANDA
Your right to purchase a perfectly legal substance – alcohol – can be taken away by a government process in a matter of minutes.
You will then get a Banned Drinker’s Order (BDO) which puts you on the Banned Drinker’s Register (BDR) and when you turn up at your favorite bottlo and show your ID – as you are obliged to – you will be shown the door.
Police Minister Brent Potter (illustrated)whose office did not respond to our questions, explaining how it works, is clearly not intended.
In a written release on January 19, he announced new “measures to prevent alcohol-related harm” which included “giving our hard-working Police more powers to put people in BDR, by giving them a smooth process to issue a BDO.”
Streamlining is a clear understatement for what is like working miracles.
Before the BDR registrar can issue a BDO, the law says, he must make a “determination as to whether a referred person should be placed on the BDR,” explained the NT Health spokesperson.
“Before making a decision, the registrar examines the outcome of any clinical assessments and all available evidence.
“They will also try to contact the targeted person.
“In making a decision, the registrar must be satisfied with the identity of the referred person and that they are abusing or abusing alcohol. [and] the abuse of alcohol is a danger to the health, safety or welfare of the person or any other person (including children and other dependents).”
How much time does the registrar need to perform these comprehensive tasks, required in each and every case?
According to Mr Potter’s handout, since the new powers came into force in December “732 individuals have been issued with Police BDOs in the last five weeks”. That is three times more than December 2022 to January 2023.
In five weeks (or 25 working days or 200 working hours) that means 3.7 people per hour were struck by the BDO – one every 16 minutes.
And that is only for BDR candidates placed in Police.
This does not count those placed by sources other than the Police including health professionals, child protection workers, social workers, shelter team leaders, public housing safety officers , Aboriginal health workers, Australian Counseling Association Level 4 counsellors, family members, caregivers and designated guardians.
No one is worried about Minister Potter, who beats his chest: “Measures to reduce the harm of alcohol are working,” he trumpeted, without giving a single bit of evidence, such as lower rates of crime and hospital admission.
Mr Potter and his mind had no answers to a set of questions NEwS put them on January 22.
Join the new steps, in part to stop grog running (Police photo), is “the implementation of a legitimate residence clause. It requires people from outside the Greater Darwin Regional area to indicate where they wish to consume alcohol,” the Minister’s release said.
Mr Potter is dumb we asked the media people of the Police in Alice Springs.
The answer: “That’s a question for the Minister of Alcohol Policy Hon Brent Potter.”