Senator Price failure of the PM to address alcohol-related crime across Northern Territory

Senator Jacinta Nampjinpa Price

Senator Jacinta Nampjinpa Price:  I move that, in the opinion of the Senate, the following is a matter of urgency:

The failure of the Prime Minister to address with sufficient urgency the serious alcohol-related crime across Northern Territory communities, including child sexual abuse, family violence, assault, property damage and theft, and calls on the Prime Minister to live up to his pre-election promise that he won't 'pose for photos and then disappear when there's a job to be done'.

My motion today is to highlight the ineffective actions of our Prime Minister. My community—my hometown of Alice Springs—has been experiencing a crisis, not just of late but for some months now. My home town has been suffering. The rates of crime have skyrocketed through the roof. The community members in my home town find it difficult to sleep at night with the threat of home invasions. They can't even walk down their street to go shopping on a daily basis because of the threat that looms before them. There are children on the streets of my community all night until the early morning. But this isn't an issue that has come up in recent times. This is an issue that I have been talking about in this chamber since the very day I gave my first speech. These are issues that not only I've been bringing up in this chamber but certainly the member for Lingiari in the lower house has been bringing up ever since her first speech as well.

Isn't it ironic? Here I am, an Indigenous voice in parliament, and yet what I've been trying to say has fallen on deaf ears when it comes to our Prime Minister. I'd like to remind the chamber and I'd like to remind everyone in this parliament of a tweet from the Prime Minister before he was Prime Minister, stating:

If I'm Prime Minister, I won't go missing when the going gets tough—or pose for photos and then disappear when there's a job to be done.

I'll show up, I'll step up—and I'll work every day to bring our country together.

What an absolute shame on the Prime Minister given the fact that he turned up in my home town after the calls that had been happening for months and spent less than four hours on the ground in my home community. He didn't even stay the night to see what was going on in my community. He didn't even stay to see the children on our streets late at night—the children who have largely been neglected and not taken care of by their own families. They are children who are supposed to be under the care of Territory families but have been victims of child sexual abuse, violence and alcohol-driven abuse within their homes and within the town camps of my community.

The Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton, in October visited my home community because he understood there were serious issues that needed to be understood on the ground. He came, he listened to community members and he listened to vulnerable women and children in my community, which then spurred him to reach out to the Prime Minister to offer a bipartisan approach to effectively manage the problems on the ground. He also called for a royal commission into the sexual abuse of Indigenous children. What have we heard from our Prime Minister on this issue? We have heard nothing, even after his four-hour, fly-in fly-out trip to my home town of Alice Springs, where the residents are beside themselves over the fact that they still feel neglected by our Prime Minister. They are furious that he came in and spent such a short amount of time on the ground and did not speak to a community member and did not speak to vulnerable people from town camps but to those he'd hand-picked himself. It might as well have been a videoconference over Teams between the Labor Territory government and the Prime Minister. This is not good enough.

In the Northern Territory, 30 per cent of our community is Indigenous. This proposed Voice to Parliament is not going to represent those voices because our votes in the Territory won't even count in this referendum anyway. How ironic is that? Here I am, a voice in parliament. I would ask that our Prime Minister work better to grow some ears and listen so that he may actually hear those voices on the ground who called out for him for so long for help within the Northern Territory and take action.

Attribution: Parliament of Australia Website

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