Indigenous Affairs Minister Owns Up To Ignorance Of Detainee Abuse

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has apologised for the horrific mistreatment of the Northern Territory’s juvenile detainees at Don Dale youth detention centre, which was revealed by Four Corners earlier this week. 

Speaking at the Garma Festival, taking place in Arnhem Land and marking forty years of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, Scullion said “I’m sorry I wasn’t aware of the full circumstances that were exposed this week.” 

“I must be better informed about such matters, particularly when the vast majority of youths held in detention in the NT are indigenous…”

There can never be any excuse for authorities entrusted with the welfare of children held in custody meting out brutality to these same children.”
Notably, when Four Corners: Australia’s Shame was broadcast, Scullion was out at dinner; it was only when the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull himself called in a “fairly agitated” state, asking if the minister was watching ABC programme.

Of course, the fact it took an external media investigation to bring this issue to the minister’s attention is also worth considering. Earlier, Scullion said the Northern Territory Commissioner’s review of the Don Dale hadn’t adequately “piqued his interest”, hence his apparent obliviousness.

Regarding the impending royal commission into the centre – which Scullion is probably all too aware of – the minister today said “it’s important the failures of the Don Dale youth detention centre are identified, as well as the causes of these failures, to provide lessons for all correctional institutions in Australia.”
Scullion’s speech coincided with nationwide protests against the mistreatment of juvenile detainees, and abuses perpetuated against indigenous youth in particular. Hundreds of activists took to the streets in in Australia’s capital cities to stand against the mistreatment.

S H A M E #handsoffaboriginalkids

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The royal commission is expected to kick off in September.

Source: / ABC / The Australian.
Photo: Gaye Demanuele / Twitter.