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NT Police minister defends racist Facebook posts

Neve Brissenden -

Racist and anti-Semitic posts shared on social media by the Northern Territory police minister were "satirical", he claims as allegations of systemic racism continue to rock the territory police force.

Now deleted posts from Brent Potter's Facebook account were revealed on Wednesday, with one 2013 post quoting a Nazi saying "In the absence of orders go find something and kill it".

Another post from 2015 uses a racial slur while a 2016 post is a reshared video of a right-wing commentator "destroy(ing) Black Lives Matter with simple logic".

Mr Potter captioned the video "worth a watch".

In a statement, the police minister and former veteran said he did not ever agree with the shared posts and they were a way to connect with other military members.

"Like most people, in my past, I have posted or shared controversial content on Facebook but that does not mean I ever agreed with all the views expressed in them," he said.

"These reposts on Facebook were between 8 and 10 years ago when I was in my 20s, and do not define my views on any subject.

"As a Defence veteran ... I used social media as a way to connect ... that included sharing military-themed cynical and satirical humour that would not be understood by those who haven't served."

The minister said he has done things on social media he regrets and would never do again with the benefit of hindsight.

Chief Minister Eva Lawler has stood by Mr Potter, saying the posts "do not reflect the Brent Potter of today".

"Many young people who have grown up in the social media era have posted or reposted things they regret," she said.

"I have said it before there is no room for racism in the territory."

The revelations are the latest in a series of scandals surrounding NT Police, after explosive evidence in an Alice Springs inquest where it was alleged the police elite specialist unit handed out a racist award at Christmas parties.

NT Police is now conducting an internal investigation with ICAC after former constable Zachary Rolfe produced certificates aiming to prove the existence of the award.

Senior officers have refuted racist claims about the award, but have agreed an award was handed out for "an outstanding lack of excellence in the area of personal hygiene or feral behaviour".

Recipients were gifted a wooden club embedded with nails which was allegedly seized from a remote Indigenous community during a period of unrest.

Commissioner Michael Murphy said the award has been discontinued.

"Our own Indigenous employees are hurting and are horrified and disgraced by what they've heard," he said on Wednesday.

"I can't begin to understand how they feel, but I have to do everything I can with my team to make sure they feel supported."

Commissioner Murphy admitted the award was racist, whether the certificates were verified or not, but said NT Police does not have a systemic racism problem.

"We do have pockets of people who continue to use language or behave in a (racist) way but it's addressed quickly and it's not wide-reaching," he said.

He said there were "racist policy settings" which resulted in unfair barriers to getting Indigenous staff to recruit into NT Police.

"Why do we expect someone whose third language is English to write a written examination?" he said.

Commissioner Murphy said he would be meeting with ministers this week to work on Indigenous recruitment strategies within the force.

He said he was aiming to have a 30 per cent Aboriginal workforce.

"That's going to take a number of years to achieve, but I really want a turbo, high-tempo and aggressive approach to it to make sure we make a difference pretty quickly."

13YARN 13 92 76

Aboriginal Counselling Services 0410 539 905

Neve Brissenden - AAP


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