Australia should be shocked and appalled to learn about what we’ve known for years’ said ALSWA

Am I horrified about what I saw on last night’s Four Corners program? Of course I am, it’s abhorrent. Am I shocked and surprised? Sadly, the answer is ‘no’ said Dennis Eggington, CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA).

Following Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that there will be a royal commission into the abuse of young people in the NT corrections system, the ALSWA says that last night’s Four Corners footage has highlighted what legal services around the country have known for years.

“It’s absolutely tragic and horrific to witness the brutality that these young people have had to endure” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington, but for too many Aboriginal children, women and men, this treatment is not out of the norm in a system that yields power over the powerless”.

Mr. Eggington said that when you work in frontline services you’re fully aware of the extent of abuse that goes on, on a daily basis. “If you work in this area and don’t know what’s going on, then you’ve got your head buried in the sand and should resign, because we have been speaking out for years about the abuse of our people who have been pulverized by authorities, and no-one seems to care”.

ALSWA has seen first-hand the impact that this sort of treatment has had on the lives of people who access its services. “Like the NT, Western Australia has its own horror stories of the treatment of Aboriginal people, in more recent times, the tragic death of Ms. Dhu. We’re currently looking into complaints of young people being assaulted by police, dumped on town outskirts by police, being punched by police and having guns pointed at the heads with threats to shoot”.

I hope that the shocking images that screened last night will be a stark wake-up call that there are serious miscarriages of justice occurring. Too many people are happy to be part of a system that has a blatant disregard for our people and ALSWA hopes that the new royal commission doesn’t just call for a reconciliation process, but instead calls for a meaningful Treaty that brings peace to the ongoing conflict” said Mr. Eggington.