Taking plonk onto Aboriginal lands

Submitted: Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 19:37
ThreadID: 110851 Views:2726 Replies:2 FollowUps:8
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Grog runners and dangerous alcoholics aren't my favourite type of people, but there are a good proportion of people in Aboriginal communities and larger towns in the Kimberley who drink plenty of beer and eat plenty of red meat.

I've found they appreciate being handed a cold VB, but we're told by the health industry that they shouldn't touch a drop, and you're killing them by giving them anything containing alcohol.

I've always been a "would you like a cup of tea and biscuits" type of traveller, but recently have had second thoughts about whether I was being patronising, or what. The worst killer of Aboriginals in Kimberley and Great Sandy Desert communities is a sense of lost mastery over their lives, which makes them vulnerable to self-abuse.

Therefore, one might make the logical conclusion that well-intentioned rules that treat them as fools isn't the most productive path in the long run.

I stand open to criticism or instruction.

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Reply By: philw - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 19:48

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 19:48
I agree with your sentiments,but on forums like this,you can't use the A word. They will delete your post. Land of free speech. I don't think so.
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Follow Up By: Kris and Kev - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 20:06

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 20:06
I think it was one of Len Beadell ‘s books where it was explained that there were 2 basic priorities of Aboriginal people. One is to hunt/gather food and the other is not to travel far to hunt/gather food. Then European people came and set up camps, bingo, food, drink and you don’t have to go far to get it. Not our fault, but they lost their purpose and anyone who has been out of work knows the feeling. Kevin
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 20:11

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 20:11
Spent many years working in Communities. Grog is a disease that is killing many and ruining lives. Walk around Alice Springs or Katherine and see what is happening. The communities are fairing worse. Breakins, robberies and car theft are a direct result of the need for money to buy more grog. Their bodies just cannot handle it. Kids are neglected, wives killed or bashed, houses destroyed and suicides prevalent because of this. Plenty of white trash have the same problem!

If it says don't take alcohol..simple DON,T.

I am all for the larger Aboriginal communities having licenced social clubs with strict alcohol rules. ie 4 mid or 6 light beers per day only. No heavy beer or sprits allowed. All profits go local sporting clubs, swimming pool fund, camps etc. Money to stay in community and club to be run responsibly. I think its pretty disgusting that a small town of 30 whites can have a pub but a community of several hundred cant have a licenced venue open to all and run for the communities profit. People may say..rubbish , don't give them access. So what do they do? Head off to the nearest town with a pub. As soon as they have no money they beg, borrow or steal..I,ve seen clubs work in some of the larger communities. Oenpelli and Tiwi come to mind. Maningrida is a 2 carton per fortnight community and is working ok.

Mate..stick with your cup of tea and biscuit. Its better for your health, its legal and you don't risk a hefty fine or loss of vehicle if your caught dishing out grog.
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Follow Up By: Steve - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 21:11

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 21:11
but we're not all white trash and sometimes like to drink within OUR limitations in what is actually OUR country as well
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Follow Up By: Mick T3 - Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 23:11

Friday, Jan 23, 2015 at 23:11
Yeah, I understand your sentiments, Big Fish, and accept your evidence, but I've also seen indigenous people who like drinking and work at jobs, and with them how abnormal it would be to deny them a beer when I'd offer any white fella a beer in the same circumstances.

But, yeah, with others it would be harming them and also harming one's own conscience.
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Follow Up By: Bigfish - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 08:57

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 08:57
Steve..I totally agree. The thread was about grog in restricted areas. No different to not bans in public places, sports areas etc.
MickT3.. Totally agree as well.. Just offer it to them in areas where your allowed too and where its legal for you to have it. I have no issues with drinking with Aboriginals in pubs , clubs or at camp grounds. Like the white fella some do like a beer. Its been a problem for decades and all govts have failed.
If we just do as the law requires then at least we are not adding to the problem.
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Follow Up By: Steve - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 10:02

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 10:02
sorry pal - went a bit OT there because I didn't read it properly before dashing out. :)

Sadly, could be a bit of a dilemma but Bigfish seems to be on the money here.
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Follow Up By: mike39 - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 11:04

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 11:04
we spend all our winters in remote regions where these days there are now restrictions on the selling of cask wine larger than 2litres with a 2 cask limit per day.
Why?, well we are told because it is due to an alcohol problem amongst a certain group of people.
But last winter shopping in Kalgoorlie where strict wine cask sale restrictions apply, we saw instead shopping trolleys loaded with cartons of beer and spirits by the same group of people the cask restrictions are supposed to protect.
I don't get it.
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Follow Up By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 15:54

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 15:54
The great thing about threads like this are, you can find out the demographic of your forum readers by their response.

EG: you can work out, who are educated, who are ignorant, who are arrogant, who are racist, and who are just plain stupid.

Taking alcohol into communities that have strict restriction is just pain stupid, the ramification's are a very high price to pay, these restrictions are in place to protect the vulnerable.

Why do some communities have a social club or in some cases a permit to obtain alcohol, the answer is simple, these clubs are put in place to stop grog running. Lets take Gunbalanya for example, the club has restricted hours and restricted on site sales, this keeps the locals at Gunbalanya and prevents most grog running, Grog running has very expensive penalties if caught. If you get barred from the club then you are also barred from the clubs and hotels in Jabiru as well, so the nearest place for alcohol is close to Darwin, hence some grog running.

If you take alcohol into restricted areas you are considered a grog runner and penalize as such, ignorance is no excuse and definitely falls on deaf ears.

However is it bad to give old mate a beer if you are out side a restricted area ?? why not, that is purely your decision to make, it;s your beer you can do as you please.

does it make old man crook ?? yes does it make us white fellas crook ?? yes.

I employ an old fella ( Thompson ) from Gunbalanya he is considered family to us and we treat him so, he is employed through CDEP, they pay his first 18 hours per week and we pay him the rest up to 40 hours, plus supper and tax, he is a hobby artist and makes money from that too.

CDEP pay there share in to his normal key card account, he accesses this for his day to day expenses, we pay him into a No Humbug account this account ensures that others can not take his money or humbug him for it, this account needs both his and my signature, the monies he makes from his painting also goes into this account, last year he saved over $ 8000 for the wet season.

With the money he has worked hard for and earned, he has become a member of the golf club ( the only take away alcohol in the region) he freely buys his beer and we sit at night and have a beer or two together, we never open one before 5 pm and he sticks to this rule when I am not home, we have formed a trust, he sometimes has family over and we have put some rules in place.

Family member must be sober when they arrive, they can only have 3 beers each and if they give me any humbug they get banned for 3 months, Thommo is pretty health for a 61 year old and sometimes a bugger when he does get drunk ( never at my place) but it works for him, unfortunately not everyone in this community are the same.

I could go on but I am now going to have a beer,I hope this answers some questions.


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Reply By: Kumunara (NT) - Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 20:58

Saturday, Jan 24, 2015 at 20:58

You obviously decided to open a can of worms.

For your information. Most of the communities in the NT were dry. The reason for it was their request. Unfortunately the government did an intervention and made dry communities dry. They did increase the size of the dry areas. The drinking camps were then moved onto the side of roads. This has led to intoxicated people being run over.

There are some comments that indigenous people cannot tolerate grog. Sorry to tell you that all human beings cannot tolerate grog. It causes a range of health problems including cardiovascular disease and cancer, the largest causes of death.

Add to that poor nutrition, smoking (cigarettes and cannabis), etc., and you have the huge gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

There are many complex issues in the subject you have raised. One huge problem is the lack of employment opportunities. Working gives people purpose and meaning in their lives.

Life's great and it just keeps getting better

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