Jobs Events Advertise Newsletter

Malarndirri McCarthy defends NT government curfew measures in Mparntwe

Dechlan Brennan -

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy says she disagrees with comments from the leading Indigenous justice agency in the Northern Territory that the current youth curfew in Mparntwe/Alice Springs criminalises children, arguing she agrees with the implementation of the interim measures by the Territory government. 

Appearing on ABC Radio Alice Springs, the Indigenous Senator from the NT was asked to respond to comments from the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), who said the extension of the curfew measures in Mparntwe/Alice Springs was “not a productive way forward".

When this occurred, Senator McCarthy said, “it was obviously the right thing to do.”

“What we have to be careful of, and I am mindful that NAAJA and others in the legal fraternity have concerns about it, we have to ensure that this isn't the long-term solution, but clearly we needed something in the short term," she said.

On Wednesday, NAAJA said in a statement: “The imposition of the curfew risks the needless harm of contact with police and does nothing to address the underlying issues it is attempting to resolve".

The NT police confirmed as of Monday no children have been addressed for curfew breaches and Senator McCarthy was asked if the comments from NAAJA were “a trope,” and if it was true that the “further you are away from Alice Springs, the less informed the comment is".

“I certainly didn't agree with that comment,” Senator McCarthy said of NAAJA’s statement.

“Because I felt what the Chief Minister was doing, what the Police Commissioner is doing, and certainly the agencies, both at a Federal and Territory level, recognise the absolute seriousness of this.

“People in Alice Springs are hurting, were hurting on every level, and this was an important moment to say, ‘enough’. And now we have to make sure that as we go forward, it still is something that does not occur going forward.”

Opposition to the curfew has come from a number of legal and human rights groups, including Amnesty International Australia and NATSILS, who labelled it a "knee-jerk" response unlikely to help the long-term issue of youth crime in Central Australia.

The issue of violence in Mparntwe/Alice Springs was thrust back into the public spotlight at the end of last month during a series of violent confrontations in the wake of the death of 18-year-old eastern Arrernte man Kumanjayi Petrick in a car accident. 

It resulted in the NT government implementing a curfew for everyone under the age of 18, as well an enacting a highly visible police presence in the town, which has seen extra officers brought in from South Australia.

Asked if it should be introduced again if there was another “crisis” that required such measures, Senator McCarthy said: “This shows that it can be done sensibly".

“I do think the people of Alice Springs…should have confidence that Eva Lawler, as Chief Minister, knows what to do." she said.

"And certainly, from our perspective at the Commonwealth level, we're very pleased with the direction that she's taken.”

The Senator continued to defend the federal input in the region, noting the “ongoing support to ensure that safety continues in Central Australia".

“We had the recent Cabinet Meeting with the Prime Minister here and all the Ministers, and there is no doubt that there will be ongoing support to ensure that safety continues in Central Australia, but more broadly across the Northern Territory,” she said.

The opposition has cautiously approved the response to the curfew, with shadow Indigenous affairs spokesperson and Warlpiri/Celtic senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price urging the government to deploy the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to restore "safety” in the town. 

The curfew extension is scheduled to end on Tuesday at 6am.

   Related   

Exclusive: Regulator probes Aboriginal corporation board’s request for special administration
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations has asked the board of Ki...
Giovanni Torre 26 May 2024
Deaf Indigenous dancers still feel the beat after 27yrs
As a teenager, Patty Morris-Banjo learned her dance moves in front of a mirror....
Keira Jenkins 25 May 2024
Outback ceremony confirms native title for NT station
In a riverbed adjacent to an outback homestead, a Federal Court judge has delive...
Abe Maddison 25 May 2024
Barry Cable charged with historical sex crimes against underaged girl
Western Australian police have charged disgraced former North Melbourne and WAFL...
Dechlan Brennan 24 May 2024

   Dechlan Brennan   

Barry Cable charged with historical sex crimes against underaged girl
Western Australian police have charged disgraced former North Melbourne and WAFL...
Dechlan Brennan 24 May 2024
A celebration of Indigenous storytelling, art, music and culture as City of Parramatta launches eight-week Warami program
The city of Parramatta is set to celebrate First Nations culture as part of a bu...
Dechlan Brennan 24 May 2024
"It's a privilege": Meet one of the commissioners responsible for helping document the "real" history of Victoria
Travis Lovett is an intimidating person.  Anyone who has watched the Yoorrook J...
Dechlan Brennan 23 May 2024
NT Ombudsman report finds prisoners in Darwin kept isolated for up to five months
Inmates in the Northern Territory are reportedly being kept in isolation in a Da...
Dechlan Brennan 22 May 2024