Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet is debating the terms of a royal commission into Northern Territory youth detention at its first meeting since the federal election.
Sky News understand the terms of reference will include child protection and youth detention, and the commission will look at the Youth Justice Act going back to 2005.
NT Chief Minister Adam Giles told Sky News’ David Speers that one of the most important outcomes of the commission needs to be ‘that we continue to provide the right levels of protection for children in detention centres and that we continue to improve our processes’.
‘The commission should have access to all available materials – CCTV footage from inside detention facilities whether it was the old one or the current one that’s being used – to identify if there has been any illegal acts committed in the past,’ Mr Giles said.
Attorney-General George Brandis will on Thursday present for approval his draft terms of reference for the commission, sparked by footage of brutal abuse of young boys in NT youth centres.
It will be up to the cabinet to approve the terms before they can be ticked off by the Governor-General.
The prime minister has confirmed the royal commission will be restricted to the NT, saying a broader focus could cause the inquiry to lose its way.
Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said if other state and territory governments believed their jurisdictions also had issues within detention centres it was up to them to initiate an inquiry.
‘We want it to be a highly targeted royal commission so it can be done properly, diligently and quite quickly,’ Mr Tudge told ABC radio on Wednesday evening.
Mr Turnbull wants a report for government by early next year.
The inquiry will have a heavy focus on the Don Dale centre – where some boys were stripped naked, tear-gassed and held in solitary confinement for days.
But the opposition says the royal commission should be extended to other states if a case is made for a broader inquiry.
Treasurer Scott Morrison on Wednesday said the prime minister had been liaising with key stakeholders over the terms of the inquiry, including with the opposition.
However, Labor said it hadn’t heard from the government on Thursday evening.
Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said it was ‘crucially important’ for the commission to be bipartisan.
‘There must be no contention about this inquiry,’ he told AAP in a statement.
‘It is too important.’
Cabinet will also discuss former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd’s bid to become United Nations Secretary General at Thursday’s meeting, however Mr Turnbull warned the nomination was not his team’s highest priority.
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