Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles has had something of a rollercoaster response to the abuse of juvenile inmates at the Don Dale detention facility.

First he openly supported punitive measures deployed against kids, such as spit restraints. Then, when the Four Corners episode aired and outraged the nation, he quickly disavowed it and demanded a royal commission. He’s slowly been walking that back ever since.

Apparently he’s pivoted entirely, in fact. On Sky News, he accused Four Corners of stitching him up in order to support the Labor opposition in the NT. “I think Four Corners should be ashamed of what they’ve done,” he said. You can see from the poll numbers why he might be kicking up a stink:

Giles says he announced a royal commission almost immediately after the airing of the programme because of the public reaction. 

“Well certainly Four Corners sought to display images to try and portray images of acts of terror within the system in the Northern Territory, and strike fear into many different communities around Australia,” he said, which sounds like a wonderful way of dancing around a central point he seems to be trying to make.

He also said that the report had “stirred up racism” in the NT, but never fully clarified exactly what he meant by that. 

For me to be talking about child protection policies in the lead-up to the territory election is just food for Labor to drive racism at the heart of territory politics, rather than put the interest of the child at the forefront.

Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour dismissed Giles’ claim that they were working to support Labor on Twitter.

Source: Sky News / The Guardian.

Photo: SBS.