Royal Commission into youth detention

All 38 children held in detention in the Northern Territory — 17 in Darwin’s Don Dale detention centre and 21 in Alice Springs — are Aboriginal, a parliamentary committee was told on June 20.

Deputy chief executive of the NT Families Department Jeanette Kerr was being questioned about how the rate of Aboriginal children in detention had changed since the Royal Commission into Juvenile Detention.

“As of today, 100% of the children in detention are Aboriginal,” she said. “The proportions have not changed since the royal commission."

Sam Watson, a leading Murri activist from Brisbane, has been involved in Aboriginal rights struggles since the 1960s.

He is a prominent author, playwright and filmmaker, and is the Aboriginal affairs spokesperson for Socialist Alliance. A Birri Gubba man, he was previously an academic at the University of Queensland, and received honours for his 1990 novel The Kadaitchi Sung and acclaim for his 1995 film Black Man Down.

Watson spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Jim McIlroy about the issues confronting Aboriginal people.

More than 100 people rallied at Todd Mall, Alice Springs, against youth incarceration and torture on October 11. The national day of protest included actions in Darwin, Newcastle, Adelaide and Sydney and coincided with the first day of the Royal Commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory.

Subscribe to Royal Commission into youth detention