Malcolm Turnbull Knuckles Down, Outlines Royal Commission Into NT Detention

More details of the upcoming royal commission into the abuse of juvenile detainees in the Northern Territory have been released. 

Speaking to the media, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former NT chief justice Brian Ross Martin – who will act as Chief Commissioner – outlined the scope of the inquiry. 

Despite some calls for the royal commission to extend its purview into other jurisdictions, Turnbull confirmed it “will identify the causes and the failures in the Northern Territory, and provide lessons from which other correctional institutions and child-protection institutions in Australia can learn from to ensure that they’re not repeated elsewhere.” 

Specifically, the commission will look into whether any “treatments” of the kind shown on Four Corners violate Commonwealth or State law; the Duty of Care taken on by the NT; or the human rights agreements Australia has signed up for. 

And that’s on top of whether guards at facilities like Don Dale Detention Centre broke any specific rules or regulations given to the Territory’s detention system, and why two previous independent reports on juvenile detention didn’t result in massive changes to the sector. 

The PM also said Attorney General George Brandis “has found a good medium between terms of reference that are highly focused and limited, but have enough breadth to enable the royal commissioner to look into associated areas without being so amorphous that the enquiry will be endless.”

Martin said it was his intention to have a preliminary hearing in early September with full hearings from October. He also called out to the public for any information that may relate to the abuses seen in the horrific Four Corners report. 

Hopefully, with a new splash of royal commission paint, this inquest will actually turf out the all-too-apparent wrongdoings and wrongdoers from the Territory.

Source: ABC / Sky News / The Australian.
Photo: Four Corners / ABC.