I was deeply shocked and appalled by the extremely disturbing footage the ABC’s Four Corners programme aired last night regarding the treatment of youths, including Indigenous youths, by staff in the Northern Territory’s youth justice system.
Any allegations prison staff have acted inappropriately should be thoroughly investigated by the relevant authorities and appropriate action taken.
The welfare of youths who come into contact with the youth justice system should be the highest priority.
As the Prime Minister has announced today, the Australian Government will now work with the Northern Territory Government to establish a Royal Commission to thoroughly examine the failings and culture of the NT’s youth justice system.
We need to establish why the two investigations into the incidents alleged to have occurred in the Northern Territory’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre on 21 August, 2014, failed to uncover the evidence presented by Four Corners.
There can be no excuse for the treatment we saw last night of juveniles in detention anywhere in Australia. It is all the more concerning when these youths are seemingly brutalised by the authorities we expect should be taking care of them.