Marion Scrymgour says the “horse has now bolted” on alcohol bans in city camps in the Northern Territory after federal invention laws expired.
In her maiden speech to Parliament, the MP for Lingiari called her swift termination and Northern Territory Government support of a policy of accepting liquor bans in individual communities a ‘wrong or gammon’ recalibration of laws strict on alcohol.
Ms Scrymgour compared the end of alcohol bans to the withdrawal of Australian troops from Afghanistan, which put vulnerable people at risk.
Although torn by the Stronger Futures policy, which encompassed the ban, Ms Scrymgour said the new government was unable to change it.
“Before they were allowed to disappear, many organizations and many Indigenous people asked the previous government to look at harm reduction which should have been properly addressed,” she said.
“This is work that should have been done 12 months ago.
‘The new Federal Labor Government is unable to reinstate expired legislation and it should not.’
Ms Scrymgour called “ridiculous” comments hailing the move as an exercise in self-determination.
“You can’t suddenly shoot it without a sanctuary of protection or a plan for the vulnerable women and children that the original measure was meant to protect,” she said.
“Doing this is more careless in terms of real-life impact.
“It is certainly not self-determination for an Aboriginal child to be constantly exposed to alcohol abuse at home and the violence that results from it.
She says she is “comforted” by ongoing conversations with the Chief Minister and the Premier of the Northern Territory.
In her maiden speech to the Lower House, Ms Scrymgour outlined employment opportunities in the territory, citing the need to mitigate the impact of mining in the Beetaloo Basin.
“We have an expansive and valuable pastoral industry, a potential windfall of new renewable energy and a tourism sector that is brimming with potential, all of these things depend on a clean environment and access to land,” she said. declared.
Ms Scrymgour said her election to Parliament was tinged with sadness, noting she was now part of a Federal Government which had made both her parents wards of the Commonwealth.
Ms Scrymgour thanked incumbent Lingiari MP Warren Snowdon for his “supportive guidance and advice”, as well as the migrant community for their contribution to the electorate.