• Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion apologises for the government's role in the Don Dale brutality (Own)Source: Own
Many Australians are calling for Scullion to leave his position as Minister for Indigenous Affairs, but today at Garma that seemed unlikely.
Sophie Verass

30 Jul 2016 - 5:30 PM  UPDATED 30 Jul 2016 - 5:34 PM

As ABC's Four Corners program revealed footage that shocked the nation this week; Indigenous boys being tear gassed and strapped to chairs with hoods on, it was assumed that Indigenous rights and Australia's current political landscape would be a key topic at the forums at the Garma Festival this year.

Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion spoke at the festival, first delivering a number of apologies on behalf of the state and national government and himself personally for the horrors broadcast on television. 

Scullion has been criticised this week for his response to the program's exposé, appearing as though he ignored the significant breaking news content.

Many Australians are outraged that such human rights violations could happen under Scullion's 'watch' and are calling for him to step down from his role as Indigenous Affairs Minister.

However, judging by Scullion's speech at Garma, it appears as though the politician will retain his title, with language indicating a future in the same role. 

"I commit to better monitoring of all state and territory governments. I’ve already written to my counterparts in each government, offering my support and seeking their advice about how we may do this."

He then addressed the public backlash stating,

"I’m sorry that I accepted advice indicating that the Northern Territory Minister was responding to the concerns that were previously raised.

"And just very quickly, there’s been some commentary in the media in recent days from people criticising me for not watching the Four Corners program live, and that I only did so because the Prime Minister rang me – this is utter nonsense. I had a long standing engagement of a very important and private matter, that I honoured. I watched the program as many Australians did with horror and outrage when I returned home."

"I’m sorry that I accepted advice indicating that the Northern Territory Minister was responding to the concerns that were previously raised."

Giles then went on to discuss his plans to delegate land council powers to traditional owner-controlled bodies,

“I want to see these delegations used to support the aspirations of traditional owners and reduce unnecessary bureaucratic process,” he will say. “Despite what some with a personal agenda may say, this is not about my personal fight with the land councils.”

And announced plans to bring more recognition of Indigenous culture into education,

“Indigenous history and language needs to be at the heart of our curriculum if we are to educate students to be truly ­respectful and value our ­nation’s heritage. I commit today to work ... to ensure the Foundation to Year 10 curriculum is designed to enable all students to engage in reconciliation, respect and recognition of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.”


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