Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda and former Queensland supreme court justice Margaret White will lead the royal commission into the alleged abuses committed in the Northern Territory’s juvenile detention system.
Their appointment comes immediately after Brian Martin QC stepped down from the role, citing the lacking “confidence of sections of the Indigenous community which has a vital interest in this inquiry,” and a possible perception of bias owing to his daughter’s tenure working for the NT’s attorney-general.
Gooda’s role as joint royal commissioner comes after his statement that the entire NT government should be dumped due to their lack of oversight. Asked if he still held that view in light of today’s appointment, he said “on the Tuesday [after the broadcast of Four Corners’ investigation], you know, was a day of emotions and people had all sorts of emotional responses.”
“In the clear light of day I probably wouldn’t think that. But at the moment I’ve got a job to do.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) August 1, 2016
White suggested their appointment shouldn’t impact the current timeline for investigations to commence. As is stands, an opening hearing is penciled in for early September.