Update 1-3 August 2016: Take 2: Commissioner No. 1 steps down and Commissioners Nos 2 and 3 are appointed. New Royal Commissioners announced; issues about Brian Martin; Patrick Sullivan in Inside Story; justice reinvestment as an alternative; Indigenous concerns with original RC plans; Amy McQuire in New Matilda on the Royal Commission as a curbing exercise that will not address key issues.
Update 28 July 2016: Prime Minister announces terms of Royal Commission under Brian Martin QC.
‘NT juvenile prison abuse: the most shocking part is that anyone is actually shocked‘, New Matilda, 26 July 2016 updated
The most shocking thing about last night’s Four Corners expose into juvenile detention in the Northern Territory is that anyone is actually shocked. What, exactly, did we think would happen? And why have we been ignoring stories like these for years? We had the same reaction when the inevitable revelations emerged about torture, rape and abuse on Nauru. Are our memories really that short? Are we really that naive a nation? … It begs the question: why aren’t we listening? And why do we need video evidence of brutality for it to stick?
Graham looks at earlier evidence of the abuse covered in the Four Corners presentation then goes on to remind us of other similar cases. ‘Yet another Royal Commission will not achieve justice for Aboriginal people, but it will shine a light on the behaviour of people in power. And it will vindicate Aboriginal people, who’ve been saying this for decades.’
Media coverage: ABC; Business Insider; Fairfax; Guardian Australia; Murdoch; New Matilda (Max Chalmers, Liz Conor); NT News. Prime Minister announces Royal Commission to be set up. Guardian Australia on the Royal Commission. Voller family comment. Stan Grant. Kathleen Heath in Guardian Australia suggests shutting down the centres and not settle for a Royal Commission. Sean Kelly in The Monthly Today. (Liz Conor is one of Honest History’s distinguished supporters.) Chris Cunneen in The Conversation on the national problem. Mike Ticher in Guardian Australia on what the story says about media news priorities. Russell Marks in The Monthly Today surveys the position Australia-wide. A three-year-old Inside Story piece from Robert Milliken trumpets plus ça change.
New Matilda made another run with pieces by Chris Graham on the Royal Commissioner, Max Chalmers on the terms of reference, Michael Brull on systemic issues, Holly Doel-Mackaway on talking to the victims and Liam McLoughlin on self-determination as the ultimate remedy.
Only by abandoning white domination and embracing Aboriginal self-determination [argues McLoughlin] can there be real justice for the kids imprisoned at Don Dale and across Australia. Only by approaching Aboriginal communities as equal partners, negotiating a Treaty or treaties, and returning rightful sovereignty back to the original custodians of this land, can there be true justice for all Indigenous Australians.
Finally, there is this blog post by Amy McQuire, Michael Brull and Samah Sabawi on New Matilda from earlier on, exploring the roots of Australian racism. It is interesting because it broadens the issue from attitudes to Indigenous Australians to attitudes to Muslims and because of the range of comments it drew.