The prime minister “will reach ‘Alice Springs’ in the near future,” his team says, while the opposition is calling for a bipartisan approach to crack down on the besieged city as a matter of urgency.
The opposition is pressuring the government to tackle what it says is the country’s “biggest problem” at the moment.
Sky News reports that Anthony Albanese will indeed visit Alice Springs on Tuesday, along with Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles and other members of the Federal Labor Party.
This has yet to be confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Northern Territory Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said the federal government “needs to be at the table” as the situation in Alice Springs reaches crisis levels.
Every night, hundreds of children unable to return home roam the streets drinking alcohol and committing crimes.
The so-called liquor ban expired last year, meaning domestic, family and sexual violence has also skyrocketed.
Locals report feeling unsafe in their own beds due to an increase in violent home invasions.
As the crisis threatens to undermine the government’s Voice ambitions, Peter Dutton had asked why Mr Albanese would not travel to the city with him “today” and take a bipartisan approach to the issue.
Instead, Government Services Secretary Bill Shorten said Mr Albanese would “get there in the near future”.
Mr Dutton – who has been accused of toying with the issue of politics – has called on the Government to deploy the Australian Federal Police and other services to restore law and order.
He also said the government should urgently reintroduce alcohol bans – although the NT premier said she would not support a “race-based” intervention.
Mr Dutton said it was beyond that.
“It’s not a race thing. It’s a law and order and crime issue… and the Prime Minister has the resources, the ability and should show the leadership to deal with it,” he told the Nine Network.
On Monday, Lingiari MP Marion Scrymgour broke with her party, saying the crisis in Alice Springs threatened to undermine the vote.
The government maintains its position of working with the NT government, but has refused to send AFP.
“No one is saying it should just be left to the NT government to deal with,” Mr Shorten told Nine Network.
Mr Dutton said there was no more pressing matter at the moment than the Alice Springs crisis, which has left people feeling unsafe.
“This goes beyond politics,” he said.
“This is a problem we’ve been working on for years – decades. There is goodwill on both sides to fix the problem.”
He said the NT Police Minister was “beyond incompetent” and the matter could no longer simply be left to the area government.
“I want the Prime Minister to stand up. I really want us to look at the biggest problem facing our country today and I was hoping that the Prime Minister would accept the offer (to go to Alice’s today) because it requires both sides to stand shoulder to shoulder, and that’s exactly what we offer,” he said.
Mr. Shorten agreed.
“Park politics in front of the door,” he said.
“To tackle it, you have to get everyone working together.”
Originally posted as PM Albanese “will” come to Alice Springs, but Peter Dutton says it won’t be soon enough