Son’s ice habit rattles minister

Northern Territory Police Minister Peter Chandler has spoken of the toll taken on his family by the drug methamphetamine, or ice, after he revealed his son is battling ice addiction.

News Corp papers have reported Brandon Chandler, 21, lent the privately owned car of his father to an acquaintance who was later stopped by NT Police on Thursday and allegedly found in possession of 1.5 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

The next morning Brandon drove the acquaintance’s unregistered car to a police station to report his father’s car missing after it was not returned the night before. He was charged with driving the unregistered vehicle.

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Fronting the media on Sunday, Mr Chandler said he had previously kicked out his son, along with his girlfriend and her daughter, from the Chandler family home due to pressures caused by ice.

“We’ve all seen the story in today’s paper, the story involving my family … it’s certainly embarrassing,” he said.

“My family has seen some things over the last six months. My younger children have been witness to things going on in our household they’ve never seen before.

Peter and son Brandon Chandler.

“There was a stage when I shut my son out, his girlfriend and her daughter.

[We’ve got to] build their resilience to a point where they are not going to start this stuff in the first place, because once you’re bitten, you’re in and it takes hold.

Peter Chandler, on educating children about ice

“As a father, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do … see three young people stand out on the nature strip of your own home while your heart is breaking inside.

“I knew though, on that week they were out of the house, that is wasn’t going to work … that they were going to be on a spiral downwards and without the support of their family there was no way of coming back from this.

“I felt betrayed, [wife] Robyn was in tears and we as a family didn’t know what to do. You think ‘where have I failed as a father’?”

Mr Chandler said there had been a turnaround in his son’s behaviour and that “in the last couple of months we’ve seen a change”.

“My son is in better place than he was months ago. He’s done some online courses, we are working as a family to get through this.”

Family’s ordeal will help in role of Police Minister, Chandler says

Mr Chandler urged families in a similar situation to his own to stick together.

“I say to any family out there: support your children,” he said.

“As a father I had a choice: I could slam the door on my son or I could bring him in and try to support him.”


NT politician Peter Chandler and son Brandon, who has admitted an addiction to the drug ice.

He said the ordeal had been a “tough road”.

“I suppose there might be a view out there that politicians are somewhat removed from reality, that we live in a bubble somewhere,” he said.

“But I can tell you that is far from the truth. We suffer everything anybody else does … maybe more so because it becomes very public.”

Mr Chandler said he believed the ordeal had made him better equipped in his role as Police Minister.

“It gives me a better understanding of how it affects people and how it is affecting our community,” Mr Chandler said.

“Having experienced it first hand, I know what it’s doing … it puts me in a better position, with the ministries I hold, in dealing with it.”

Mr Chandler said the experience had taught him “what will work and what won’t work when it comes to developing policies and moving forward with government programs”.

“I think I am in a wonderful place because I have had first-hand experience.”

He said educating children when young was “the best thing we can possibly do” in the fight against addiction.

“[We’ve got to] build their resilience to a point where they are not going to start this stuff in the first place, because once you’re bitten, you’re in and it takes hold.”

In March, the NT Government announced an inquiry into the prevalence, impacts and government responses to illicit use of the drug ice.

Between February 2014 and 2015, Northern Territory Police detected 17 methamphetamine production labs.

In the first three months of this year, police said they had seized three to four times more ice than in the same period last year.

The NT inquiry is running concurrently with the National Ice Taskforce announced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in April.

In May, Mr Chandler issued a press release welcoming the national ice inquiry, saying “we are tackling this problem head on” and urging Territorians to “dob in a dealer”.

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