Special Minister of State Scott Ryan says the Coalition has ruled out appointing two Indigenous Australian co-commissioners to the royal commission into the Northern Territory’s juvenile justice system.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull set up the royal commission this week after Four Corners aired vision of boys in a Darwin detention centre being teargassed and forcefully stripped naked.
Senator Ryan said the Government would not be acting on the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s suggestion for two Indigenous Australians to work alongside the royal commissioner, Brian Martin.
“The Government has appointed Brian Martin and we are keen that this royal commission get underway very quickly, that’s why it’s so targeted,” Senator Ryan told Sky News.
Inquiry will be seen as a ‘con job’: Shorten
Mr Shorten made his call for two Indigenous co-commissioners during a visit to Darwin yesterday.
“This royal commission has to be with Aboriginal people, not to Aboriginal people,” Mr Shorten said.
“I believe it would be appropriate for the royal commission to have two co-commissioners who are Aboriginal Australians, strong people, men and women, who can make sure the voices and the experiences of Aboriginal Australians are given full justice in this royal commission.”
Mr Shorten also went on to say having a royal commission without Aboriginal co-commissioners would be seen as a “con job” — but the phrase was left out of the official transcript distributed by his office.
“To have an inquiry on the treatment of Aboriginal children in the justice system in the Northern Territory and not have Aboriginal co-commissioners will be seen as a political manipulation,” the transcript reads.
But Mr Shorten’s full quote was: “To have an inquiry into the treatment of Aboriginal children in the criminal, in the justice system in the Northern Territory and not have Aboriginal co-commissioners will be seen as a con job, seen as a political manipulation.”
Senator Ryan has described Mr Shorten’s use of the phrase as “confected outrage”.
“Bill Shorten also used the word con job yesterday, and quite frankly, Bill Shorten’s confected outrage on a daily basis on some issues is a bit like a grey sky in Melbourne in July, you just have to get on with the job and ignore it.”
Giles is ‘incompetent’ and should be subpoenaed: Dodson
Labor Senator Pat Dodson said the Northern Territory’s Chief Minister Adam Giles should give evidence before the Royal Commission, saying the NT Government should not be involved in setting up the royal commission.
“The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory has demonstrated he’s incompetent to deal with this matter and I don’t think he should be in any way influencing it,” he said.
“He should be subpoenaed to appear before it.”