The National Native Title Council (NNTC) is appalled at the treatment of young Aboriginal boys in detention in the Northern Territory and believes it is symptomatic of the ongoing poor relationship between Australian governments and Indigenous peoples across the country.
Speaking from the Gaarma Fesitval in the Northern Territory, the NNTC’s Chair Mr Nolan Hunter said the Prime Minister had clearly stated that he was interested in doing things ‘with Aboriginal people not to them’.
“The appointment of Chief Justice Brian Martin for the Royal Commission and the development of a Terms of Reference with minimal involvement from the Indigenous leadership is not a good way for this Government to start any relationship with Indigenous peoples.
“Even more disturbing will be the involvement of the Northern Territory government in the Royal Commission, which is a serious conflict of interest when enquiring into the Northern Territory juvenile justice system,” said Mr Hunter. “How the Government can expect to have the trust of Indigenous peoples in issues affecting their lives is beyond me.
“There have been numerous concerns raised already by many key stakeholders, and these concerns need to be addressed,” said Mr Hunter. “The human rights and protection of our children and young people should be paramount in any government system whatever its purpose.
“This Government needs to ensure that Indigenous people are involved in all matters that impact their lives and we call on the Prime Minister and the Government to work with Indigenous people to ensure the Royal Commission achieves the best possible outcome”.