WARNING: There are graphic images of firework injuries below….
Yesterday Territorians celebrated Northern Territory Day, marking the commencement of Self Government in the Territory on 1 July 1978. Most states celebrate the day they became independent by having a public holiday. In Darwin, we celebrate by turning the evening into a disaster zone.
Let me tell you what happens…. For 2 days, fireworks are sold to members of the public over 16 years of age, and sales must cease by 9pm on July 1st. These people are then free to ignite and set off their fireworks.
The government and Council always have a list of guidelines when lighting your own fireworks. I have made some comments in bold italics after each point.
* The sale of fireworks will be restricted to two days. Fireworks can only be purchased between the hours of 9am and 9pm on those two days, from approved fireworks retailers. They cannot be sold to persons under 16 years of age. (Well this is basically what does happen. The firework retailers make a fortune and to have their selling license revoked to stay open an extra hour, or to sell to a minor would not be worth it for them)
- * Fireworks can only be ignited between 6pm and 11pm on Territory Day. For all other occasions a special permit is required. (Can someone explain why I could hear fireworks going off constantly throughout the night, at one point, waking my sleeping child because it sounded like a canon)
* Unused fireworks can be handed into NT WorkSafe or your local Police and Fire stations. (Riiiiigght. Sure. Like this EVER happens. Left over fireworks get used at the discrepancy of those who have purchased them. Meaning – whenever and wherever the hell they like.)
* Strict penalties apply under the Dangerous Goods Act for breaches of fireworks regulations with fines of up to $3000. (Great, but how many people actually get fined? I would LOVE to know the stats on that one!)
Let me just say, I’m not against fireworks for celebrations. I love fireworks. Always have. What I’m against is selling them to anyone. Because for every responsible person that does the right thing, and abides by the guidelines to increase safety, there are about 10 who don’t.
My question is: Why can’t the government put on a HUGE display for all people in Darwin. That’s what they do in all the regional areas of the Territory. Why do city dwellers get a license to explode? You only have to go to the NYE fireworks in Sydney to understand that having one big display encourages unity, consideration and makes the night so special. Sure there are drunken idiots there too, but they’re not armed with dangerous explosives.
Having pockets of people scattered not only creates competition, “There’s are pretty big, let’s get out our big ones and blow there fireworks out of the water,” but it is also impossible to police how much those using the fireworks are drinking. Surely after 6 beers, lighting a firework in a public place can be as hazardous as driving a car.
So anyway, last night when I realised watching television or reading a book was futile (because it sounded like World War 3 outside in my suburban neighbourhood), I do what I always do when I feel an inner cyclone coming on. I put scribble to paper and wrote this:
Right now I’m just so furious I want to punch something hard!
But that would only aggravate the blatant disregard…
of all the stupid bogans that are outdoors tonight.
No they are not drinking, neither are they in a fight.
But they are causing havoc, making trouble, being clowns.
Is this what I should just accept living in Darwin town?
I wish I could invite you now, into my Lounge Room…
And this is what you’d hear: Whistle, crack, bang, chk-chk BOOM!
We’re apparently celebrating Northern Territory Day.
But it’s really an excuse for the idiots to play.
You see in the Northern Territory anyone can buy…
as many fireworks as they like and for a price that’s high.
They sell them for a whole two days prior to tonight.
Our officials in the government think that makes it alright.
“Surely if there’s just two days to stock up on supplies..
The fireworks will be limited as will pollution to our skies.”
I guess they just don’t realise that many go to shop
For the biggest loudest fireworks that go : Snap Crackle & Pop!
So these bogans – cashed up bogans, have spent serious truck loads!
And council cleanup tomorrow will cost serious f**k loads!
But you know – the government (that silly bunch of fools)
Release a statement every year about the ‘Firework Rules.’
“You must not set a firework beyond 11pm
And remember there’s exclusion zones; they’ll be policed again.”
But with alcohol flowing freely the rules are just forgotten.
I feel sorry for the fire-fighters who must think this night is rotten.
The fire danger’s always high, and every year there’s reckless flames.
Cause surely… lighting fireworks yourself is fun and games.
Yet every single year the average number is thirty five.
Those who spend the night in hospital trying to survive.
Every year there’s injuries to limbs, fingers and eyes.
And I wonder… how many idiots actually copped a fine?
Like the brainless twat who last year didn’t give a damn.
He sent a baby to emergency when he shot fireworks at a pram!
So the fire-fighters, paramedics, doctors and police…
…are all on hand in quantities to try and keep the peace.
And minimise the damage, and try and maintain the law.
So I’m asking now – Where are you? Cause there’s fireworks at my door!
They’re almost in my backyard, there are fireworks galore!
They’re noisy and obnoxious. It sounds like there’s a war!
I want to go outside and shout out loud: “You stupid dicks!
You careless bunch of bastards, you reckless selfish pricks!”
I should mention there are those who responsibly spend…
…the evening being careful celebrating with their friends.
They only go to areas where fireworks are allowed.
They’re cautious with their explosives and respectful of the crowd.
But sadly that’s not everyone. There are way too many jerks.
So I’m pleading with the government: Stop the free-for-all Fireworks!
Now I’d be the first to tell you that fireworks are amazing
They’re sparkly and they’re pretty just like little bits of sky bling.
But with boundaries there is safety. With restrictions there’s control.
And this mess and noise and damage are starting to take its toll.
Isn’t that the reason, NT finally fell in line?
And introduced demerit points in like – 2009? ***
And changed the speeding limit so there actually was one?
Because the road tolls and the accidents were no longer any fun.
It just makes sense to me, to keep it one big show.
And no longer sell fireworks to any Tom, Dick or Jo.
STOP the Private Fireworks. That is my new slogan.
The only ones who’ll be upset are all the stupid bogans!
*** Demerit points were actually introduced to the NT in July of 2007, 2 years earlier than stated above.