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.”