The Northern Territory government is dismissing calls to reinstate its Banned Drinkers Register (BDR), saying Canberra should mind its own business.
The NT's Country Liberal Party (CLP) came under fire from both sides of federal politics on Wednesday over a decision made last year to scrap the register.
Acting NT chief minister Robyn Lambley hit back at Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
"For Julia Gillard to start dictating from Canberra how we should implement alcohol policies and what they should be is an absolute nonsense," she told ABC radio.
Ms Lambley, who will soon meet with federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin in Canberra, said she would tell Ms Macklin how unimpressed she was with the prime minister's words.
"I think that she should be listening to us more than we should be listening to them," she said.
Ms Lambley says statistics show the BDR has failed to curb the number of violent or alcohol-related assaults.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott took the unusual move of taking aim at his conservative allies in the NT, siding with the Gillard government on the issue.
"I share the prime minister's concern about actions in the Northern Territory in respect of the Banned Drinkers Register," he told parliament.
The BDR required people buying takeaway alcohol to show photo ID, which was scanned and checked against a list of problem drunks who were prevented from making such purchases
On Wednesday, Ms Gillard in her Closing the Gap speech on indigenous disadvantage said she feared "rivers of grog" that wreaked havoc among indigenous communities were beginning to flow again.
She drew connections between the scrapping of the BDR and five recent alcohol-related deaths in Alice Springs.
Ms Gillard said her government would "take action in response to any irresponsible policy changes" that could forfeit hard-won gains.