Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 February 2008) . . Page.. 192 ..
I do not like the suggestion—I think it was made in a letter in the Canberra Times—of moving nightclubs out of Civic altogether. All that is doing is moving the problem somewhere else; we are just going to have to deal with it there. We need to realise that Civic comes to life only because there are those night places. The complaint of our young people is that Civic is dead. From speaking to my own daughter and her friends, I know they have a good time in nightclubs. They are a good thing for young people. But we need to make Civic feel safe for everybody.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.39): Given the excellent approach Mr Corbell took after the failure of Mr Hargreaves on the issue of people throwing rocks at buses, I had expected that today he might have taken a different approach to the one he has. I am absolutely appalled that the government is going to move an amendment that will remove any acknowledgement that the community played a role in the community round table that the Leader of the Opposition organised last week. It is dreadful to think that an amendment from a minister will take out the words—these are the words they find so offensive, Mr Speaker—“the positive input of community representatives in contributing to the Opposition’s community roundtable on Friday, 1 February”. How dare the community have a positive input to a community round table! Shame on the government for saying that those people should not be acknowledged in this place today and that what they said is of no interest to this government.
Why cut the community out of this motion? If you want to amend it, go for your life. That is what we do in this place; we do it all the time. But why not listen to what the community said? It goes to show the arrogance of this government that grows and grows by the day. The only answer that matters is what the government is doing. If the government has not done it, if the government has not proposed it, if the government has not funded it and if the government is not talking about it, it just does not matter. What Mr Corbell does here today is slap the business community, the Chamber of Commerce, publicans, the taxi industry and police officers for having the temerity to speak to the opposition and, worse than that, having good ideas.
We have listened to the community. As the Leader of the Opposition has outlined very appropriately and accurately, all those groups had something to say on the day. The consensus of the day was this. All of the parties there agreed that all arms of the community had a role to play in the solutions to the problems that plague this city periodically in relation to the abuse of alcohol.
I note that Dr Foskey has got more information than the rest of us. She said that the major contributor to the problem is alcohol. I would like to see the data that says that. A number of groups—people who own pubs and restaurants—say that they have unruly customers who drink water all night. Police officers tackle people who have not consumed an ounce of alcohol—a millilitre of alcohol—in the previous couple of hours: people who apparently get very excited from the consumption of water.
Unless you are willing to address the problems of drug abuse as well, these problems are not going to go away. The modern drugs that people are taking—things like ice and ecstasy—are causing the police enormous amounts of grief. Heroin use tends to make people go sleepy; amphetamines get people worked up. If Dr Foskey has some information, I would like to see that information.