Home' Tennant and District Times : 2016-0729 TDT Contents AS a father, teacher, Mem-
ber of Parliament and pre-
vious Corrections Minister
I was outraged by the Four
Corners story on juvenile
detention and youth jus-
tice system in the Northern
I watched it and like friends
and colleagues I was shocked to
the core by the graphic CCTV
footage showing children being
mistreated in Northern Territory
The question running through
my mind, surely we don’t al-
low the torture of children in
I was deeply saddened to re-
alise the answer is apparently we
do and right here in the Northern
How has it come to this as un-
der Northern Territory law child
abuse is subject to mandatory
Whatever these kids have done
we have to treat them better
If we don’t we will allow an-
other generation traverse from
juvenile detention to jail.
The perpetrators of the mis-
treatment must be brought to
I welcome the Prime Minister’s
announcement of a Royal Com-
mission into the Youth Justice
system of the Northern Territory.
The Labor Opposition offers
bipartisan support to the Giles
Government to establish the
Royal Commission as soon as
The Northern Territory Gov-
ernment must immediately
launch a police investigation
into the actions of Department
staff members trusted with ap-
propriate care and protection of
children in detention who have
breached professional standards.
A Royal Commission is the
highest level of independent in-
vestigation and I hope that from
this inquiry something good will
result for dealing with damaged
children needing critical support
for addressing their offending
behaviour not more abuse.
– Gerry McCarthy, Member
4 TENNANT AND DISTRICT TIMES FRIDAY 29 JULY 2016
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WE, the youth of this community,
and also a part of Youth Leadership
Group - Tennant Creek (YLG con-
demn the Northern Territory prison
system’s barbaric treatment of chil-
dren and young people, highlighted
on ABC’s Four Corners.
Four Corners revealed heartbreaking
scenes of human rights violations by prison
guards towards young people in juvenile
These images and the apparent endorse-
ment of this type of brutal regime, have
shocked us, shamed us, and call us to action
as a whole community. But what actions
can we make?
While a Royal Commission may be the
only response that will make our Govern-
ment accountable, we need to recognise that
a Royal Commission in itself will not bring
In 1987 there was a Royal Commission
into Aboriginal deaths in custody, yet deaths
in custody continue and many of the recom-
mendations were never fully realised.
In more recent times, we have seen “Ampe
Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle ‘Little Chil-
dren are Sacred’” report , resulting from an
Inquiry into the Protection of Aboriginal
Children from Sexual Abuse-2007, and then
a further inquiry into the Child Protection
System in 2010.
Despite these two inquiries we see a child
protection system that continues to fail
In recent years there have been inquiries or
reports into Don Dale including one from the
Children’s Commissioner, another from the
previous Children’s Commissioner and the
2015 Vita report.
Those in authority, who had the power and
resources to make changes, chose not to.
So while we support a Royal Commission
we need to maintain and develop strong
advocacy about the changes that need to
happen now, and to look at what our contri-
bution can be.
We need to actively reject quick fix solu-
tions that appeal to the public and respond
to negative community perceptions about
This gives rise to popular ‘tough love’ ap-
proaches such as boot camps and mandatory
sentencing which are costly and have limited
We the members of YLG, are highly critical
of the governments funding cuts to com-
munity services and believes the practices
revealed on Four Corners point to wider
failings of the current government’s ‘tough
on crime’ agenda.
In recent years we’ve seen NTG slash fund-
ing for crucial preventative services such as
community health and legal services, mental
support services and youth services.
The government has instead focused on
the blunt end of the system – Youth Deten-
tion Centres. Yet even the prison systems
In last week’s Tennant Times, Mick Ad-
ams had his two minute’s worth response
regarding the much awaited youth funding
for our town (“The forgotten election com-
mitments”, TDT, 22/7/16).
We are very thankful for the current gov-
ernment for releasing the funds to the Barkly
Regional Council (BRC) and also are very
thankful to our local member, Gerry Mc-
Carthy, for continually voicing his concerns
about Youth in Crisis.
Let’s not make it a political agenda and let’s
achieve successful outcomes in bipartisan-
ship from both sides of major parties.
Mr Mick Adams further mentions his
concerns about a Local Authority member
who tabled a paper in February to the BRC
,requesting Council to prepare a submission
to the Department of the Chief Minister, to
continue the youth program for a further
Mick, let us reassure you that the paper that
was submitted by the local authority member
that you speak of, was with the consultation
of the members of YLG and also, in consul-
tation with the ‘Regional Executive Director
for Barkly – Department of Chief Minister’.
Here is another funny fact for Mr Adams:
Did you know that the Local Authority mem-
ber that you speak of was the only unpaid
volunteer, who assisted in the running of
After Hours Youth Centre Trial Project dur-
ing the six week Christmas holiday period?
We, the YLG members, are very thankful
for that Local Authority member’s support
and guidance. This town needs more people
like the LA member that Mr Adam’s has
mentioned in his dramatic political response.
Currently, we have a system which does
nothing to support the most vulnerable
people in our community to assist them to
avoid a life of imprisonment; and most ap-
pallingly, a prison system which clearly puts
people at risk.
What hope do these young Australians have
after that experience? We need role models
rather than political Barbies who are all
about negative campaigning. Youth of this
town wants to hear more about, government
policies and what they have to offer for our
Natasha May, Telita Braun and
Tarazita Johnston, Youth Leadership
Group - Tennant Creek.
Australia’s shame – we deserve better
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