A spokesperson for indigenous organisations in the Northern Territory has spoken out about not being consulted on the upcoming government inquiry into the horrendous abuse of children in the Don Dale juvenile detention centre in Darwin.
The story of the abuse, which has now received widespread coverage and commentary across Australia, was originally covered in an in-depth report by ABC‘s ‘Four Corners‘.
It showed teenagers, including now 18-year-old Dylan Voller, being stripped naked, assaulted, restrained in chairs with hoods, and tear gassed. The guards use excessive force, and refer to the juvenile inmates as “an idiot” and a “little fucker” and one guard threatens to “pulverise” the boy.
AMSANT chief executive John Paterson, speaking on behalf of the organisations the Northern Land Council, the Central Land Council and Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT, said that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s promised Royal Commission had already “comprehensively failed us”.
“Yet again the Commonwealth Government has refused to consult with Aboriginal people, in spite of Mr Turnbull’s commitment, now hollow, to ‘do things with Aboriginal people, not to us’.”
He also spoke out against the appointment of former NT Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Martin as the head of the Royal Commission, saying that it would be impossible for him to be independent due to his past involvement in sentencing juvenile criminals to detention, and due to his connection with people who are “not only with the legal profession but also with the political players here, who are the subject of this investigation”.
“We are also deeply disturbed that NT Chief Minister Adam Giles was party to developing the terms of reference and selecting the royal commissioner.”
Deputy chairwoman of AMSANT Olga Havnen said this about the decisions:
“Our objective is to provide a united voice, to be able to provide a key point of contact for government and for others to be able to deal with us and consult with us. To get a considered view.
It seems to me this royal commission has been compromised from the outset. Because of the fact that the Territory Government, who is responsible for all of these atrocities, be it Labor or the Country Liberal Party, are the ones that are being consulted and have had the most input.
This isn’t an open, transparent, objective, independent process at all.
Are they serious about getting a good outcome or is this really about just having a white wash?”
Photo: Four Corners.