• The public demonstration against alcohol laws in Alice Springs called on local police to put an end to racial profiling in the town.
Organisers and patrons in Alice Springs have marched in protest against what they have described as racist laws and policing.
By
Tara Callinan

Source
NITV News
28 Mar 2014 - 2:52 PM  UPDATED 28 Mar 2014 - 6:46 PM

The rally called for the repeal of Section 95 of the Northern Territory Liquor Act which allows police to search and seize any alcohol in the possession of a person- they believe beyond reasonable doubt - is breaching the law.

"They cannot tell us that they are not racial profiling and that this is not based on race because we are living it every day here in Alice Springs," said demonstration orgainser Stacia Chester.

"We can't even go to the shops to buy bread and milk. We're being question before we enter the door what we're buying."

Protesters said a repeal of Section 95 of Northern Territory Liquor Act will re-instate a law that applies to all residents.

"Bring back the ID system where everyone of every race and colour has to produce ID,” said demonstration organiser Barbara Shaw.

Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, Adam Giles said there were 213 people in Alice Springs who had already been issued with Alcohol Protection Orders.

But there is fear that these orders are only adding to existing social tensions in the community.

"Forteen-year-old boys are getting bashed here by the police. Now it's not just the alcohol, it's the whole situation here in this town. When I say they've been given the freedom to be racist, they're going overboard, absolutely overboard," said Miss Chester.

"We need to treat it as a disease and we need to start putting more money into rehab centres and not putting our people in jail because whilst we're incarcerated there is no help and services in our jails and prison systems in the Northern Territory that actually deals with alcohol as a disease," said Miss Shaw.

Organisers say the only way to end racism is through community engagement.

"It would be great if we could go back to the elders and the elders could sit at the top of that rank again and not the government," said Miss Chester.

"I think everyone needs to have involvement, not just three organisations and key stakeholders within Alice Springs.  I think everyone has to have a voice around alcohol,” said Miss Shaw.

Residents will have an opportunity to voice their concerns at the federal government Inquiry into the harmful use of alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities when it begins in Alice Springs on Monday.