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Issue #1755      November 2, 2016


In NSW, the 10 o’clock closing time for packaged-liquor stores introduced in 2014 was successful in minimising the harm caused by alcohol. This measure was introduced in NSW state-wide and resulted in a 5 percent reduction in assaults. The head of the state’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Dr Don Weatherburn found the reduction “fully attributable” to the 10 pm bottle shop closing time. Medical facts speak for themselves as well. The St Vincent’s Intensive Care Unit has not seen a single death related to an alcohol-related assault since 2014. In the hospital’s plastic and reconstructive surgery department there were 145 cases of serious facial fractures in the two years before the laws were brought in with 119 related to alcohol. In two years since the introduction of the law the number has dropped to 58 cases, with only 37 related to alcohol. There is talk about a possible extension of the 10 pm bottle shop closure and home delivery till midnight. That will be a very bad and regressive move.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was not impressed with Liberal Party members who used Nelson Mandela’s image on their leaflets on the dangers of same-sex marriage. The leaflet was distributed by a group known as Children’s Future. Children’s Future has links to the Catholic religious society Opus Dei. The leaflet falsely claimed that legalising same-sex marriage would trigger the Safe Schools program becoming “compulsory”. The Nelson Mandela Foundation has issued a statement saying: “We object to the misuse of the legacy of someone who worked precisely for the recognition of such rights. As South Africa’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela signed into law a constitution that stood for the rights of all”. The statement also pointed out that chapter 9 of the Bill of Rights of South Africa’s constitution says: “The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth”.

The Indigenous prisoner population in NSW has more than doubled in the last 15 years despite a sharp drop in arrests for serious crimes. Latest figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show a 40 percent increase in the rate of Indigenous imprisonment due in part to an increase in bail refusal. At the same time, Indigenous involvement in violent crime and property crime declined 37 and 32 percent respectively. Almost 40 percent of Indigenous defendants were refused bail and those held on remand – in custody awaiting trial or sentence – do not go on to receive a prison sentence at their final court appearance. Greens MP David Shoebridge said the government should wind back “regressive amendments” to the state’s bail laws, which took effect from January 2015.

Next article – Culture & Life – The free press – hurrah!

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