It is the video that shocked a nation. Now the Prime Minister has stepped in.

Following the release of damning footage on the ABC’s Four Corners program last night, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced he will establish a royal commission into the events in the Northern Territory detention centre.

As public outrage over the footage mounted today, the Northern Territory’s Minister for Corrections and Justice, John Elferink, was sacked by Chief Minister Adam Giles, who will personally take over his portfolios.

The footage, aired on Monday night in an exclusive story by journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna, showed the horrific abuse of children in detention and included scenes of a boy being stripped and assaulted by prison guards, others being held in isolation for prolonged periods; six children being teargassed by officers; and in one instance, a teenager being shackled to a chair with his head covered by a hood.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, Chief Minister Giles described the footage as “horrific” and said it had been withheld from him and other government officials, reports ABC.

“There are many good people who work in the prison system, but to think this footage has not only been withheld from the former Corrections Minister and myself and many officials in government to me says that this is a culture of cover-up,” he said.

“The footage we saw last night going back to 2010 — and I predict this has gone on for a very long time.”

The Prime Minister held a press conference today, during which he said, “This is a shocking state of affairs and we will move quickly to establish what happened.”

The abuse occurred at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin throughout 2014.

“Like all Australians, I have been deeply shocked, shocked and appalled by the images of mistreatment at the Don Dale Centre,” Mr Turnbull said. “I have been speaking overnight and early this morning with the Chief Minister Adam Giles, with my Attorney-General Senator [George] Brandis, with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Northern Territory Senator Nigel Scullion, and also the Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs.”


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces a Northern Territory royal commission. Post continues… 

“We will be establishing a royal commission into these events, into this centre; we intend to do so jointly with the Northern Territory Government,” Mr Turnbull continued.

“This centre has been a controversial one in the past, and there have been as we know, inquiries into it in the Northern Territory,” he said, adding that the government would launch a thorough inquiry that would aim to “get to the bottom of it, and expose what occurred and expose the culture that allowed it to occur and allowed it to remain unrevealed for so long”.

Mr Turbull also said the commission would need to investigate why the damning evidence had not been revealed in prior inquiries.

The footage being discussed on Monday night’s episode of Four Corners. Post continues… 

“There are many issues of concern here, and we will get to the bottom of it, and we will appoint a very thorough, meticulous examination of this.”

Meanwhile, Labor leader Bill Shorten has confirmed his party’s support for the commission, tweeting, “Labor is ready to work with the govt on a RC into systemic failures in Indigenous incarceration.This national shame demands national action.”

Indigenous Labor Senator Pat Dodson has called for immediate resignation of Northern Territory attorney-general, and whoever else was responsible for the abuse.

Responding to the Four Corners program, Northern Territory’s Minister for Corrections, John Elferink, said, “I am the Minister for Corrections, not the minister for kicking the shit out of people.”