Royal Commission to be established into Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory

Media release
26 Jul 2016
Prime Minister, Attorney-General

The Commonwealth Government will establish a Royal Commission, in co-operation with the Government of the Northern Territory into the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. 

Like all Australians, we were shocked and appalled by the images of mistreatment of children at the detention centre. 

Every child in our justice system must be treated with humanity and respect at all times.

The two Governments will move quickly to finalise Terms of Reference and recommend an eminent person to conduct the inquiry. 

Previous inquiries conducted within the Northern Territory into the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre failed to identify the nature and extent of the behaviour highlighted by Four Corners. 

The powers of a Royal Commission, including its ability to compel evidence, are therefore necessary to identify the systemic failures at the institution. 

It is important that the causes and failures at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre are identified to provide lessons to other correctional institutions in Australia to ensure they are never repeated. 

This needs to be a thorough inquiry which exposes what occurred and why it remained concealed for so long.