Don Dale atrocity shows we must reject the major parties' 'law and order' agenda

Socialist councillor Sue Bolton.
Monday, July 25, 2016

There is ample evidence of the criminality of the prison officers, their bosses and the Northern Territory government ministers for charges to be laid over the horror inflicted on Aboriginal kids in custody at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre.

It's not just a question of proper "training"and "processes" for the prison guards.

The horror we saw in the ABC's Four Corner's program on July 25 is the outcome of the law and order agenda of "lock em' up and throw away the key".

The NT government voted to allow the "mechanical restraint" chair: how inhumane is that? These people knew what was going on. There were a range of reports handed to the government: it refused to act until there was public outrage as a result of Four Corners showing the actual footage.

The footage was painful to watch: the impact on the kids will be permanent.

The Don Dale prison and others like must be shut down and those politicians and the boss of the prison guards who knew this was happening need to be jailed.

The NT intervention was justified on the claim that Aboriginal adults were abusing children. This claim was later found to be false.

The army and the police were sent to intervene in Aboriginal communities in the NT over false allegations of child abuse. Now we have governments refusing to act over actual child abuse in Don Dale.

This is a total double standard.

Malcolm Turnbull's royal commission is really a face-saving and delaying exercise to make it look like the government is doing something when, in fact, it is not doing what's needed.

We have to reject the law and order agenda of the major parties because it leads to the abuse that we saw at Don Dale.

Emergency rallies are being organised across the country this weekend: look out for one in your city and join it. We need to ramp up the pressure on the major parties now.

[Sue Bolton is a Moreland City councillor in Melbourne and a member of Socialist Alliance.]

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