Labor Ramps Up Pressure On Turnbull Over NT Abuse Royal Commission

Indigenous icon Pat Dodson has weighed into the debate.

30/07/2016 12:32 PM AEST | Updated 31/07/2016 12:18 PM AEST
Getty Images
Shorten wants the PM to boost Indigenous involvement in the NT abuse royal commission.

Labor has stepped up its criticism of the coalition's planned royal commission into the Northern Territory's child protection and youth detention system.

Former Northern Territory Supreme Court Chief Justice Brian Ross Martin, AO, has been chosen to head the commission following cabinet's first meeting after the Federal election on Thursday.

Whether racism played a part in the treatment of children at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre will form a part of the inquiry that is expected to commence in October.

The commission has been scheduled followed shocking footage revealed this week on ABC television of abuse against children -- many of them Indigenous -- at Don Dale.

On Sunday, Indigenous Labor Senator Pat Dodson said the Turnbull Government had so far not consulted adequately with Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory about the inquiry.

"I hope this commissioner actually addresses or goes and visits the families of all these kids, understands what the circumstances are that they're living in (and) whatever predicaments they have," Dodson said.

His comments come after opposition leader Bill Shorten on Saturday urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to boost Indigenous participation in the royal commission.

Shorten has said it is essential for the Aboriginal community to be involved and consulted in the inquiry and has called for the appointment of 2 Aboriginal co-commissioners.

He said his vision of Australian justice was not to see a 14-year old boy hooded and strapped to a chair.

"We do support the royal commission but we think its important that Mr Turnbull does it properly," Shorten said.

"Anything less than that i think won't deal with some of the anger that's legitimately felt in the community."

In relation to the royal commission, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told ABC television on Saturday that he wanted to make sure the rights and dignity of all prisoners were protected.

More On This Topic