They are children, they are incarcerated and yes the footage we've seen and the information we have does constitute abuse on a grand scale. A violation of human rights. Definitely an abuse of authority. None of it comes close to meeting community expectations or standards.
Here lies the problem. Many of the State government's around Australia have passed laws through parliament that make much of what was done by the contractors in the Northern Territory, compliant.
So if that doesn't completely shift the blame to politicians it surely moves it heavily in their general direction.
If I saw the vision on 4 Corners in isolation without sound I would have assumed it to be footage from Guantanamo Bay, not Australia. Would I be shocked If told it was footage from Nauru or Manus Islands where our federal government works in a clandestine manner openly with no regard for laws? Probably not. Yet I was shocked like most Australians that this was happening in detention centres in Australia in 2016.
I'm shocked because we've had decades to fix this issue with hundreds of millions of dollars invested. We've had Royal Commissions into both institutional child abuse & indigenous deaths in custody. It is quite clear that these were either a waste of taxpayers money or a not implemented or a combination of both.
Most of these young kids that are in this system come from a culture that has been harvested by political failure. I would happily debate any politician in any forum that suggests otherwise. As an interim measure, the Northern Territory government should have been stood down pending a police investigation. Dondale staff should also face the same. The children in captivity should be assessed and cared for by qualified people at the nation's expense. They should be afforded any assistance to remedy this abominable treatment.