Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles has told a leaders debate overnight he is “part of the problem” facing the NT’s juvenile detention system.
During the debate against NT Labor opposition leader Michael Gunner, Mr Giles said: “I don’t think we protect children enough”.
"I'm part of the problem, because I'm sitting at the top of the tree and I'm not giving the guidance to DCF (NT Department of Children and Families) but I think it needs to be stronger.
"I will be firm in my position that I think we are reluctant as policy makers, as politicians, to make tough choices and decisions in the best interests of kids.
"And I think too often we leave kids in vulnerable positions in the Northern Territory."
Mr Gunner said he would allocate an extra $3 million in budget spending for early intervention programs for youth if Labor were elected.
"That we think it's OK to have kids in that facility, it is not," he said.
The comments follow sensational claims by Mr Giles that the ABC’s 4 Corners program, which broke the story on abuse at the Don Dale Detention facility, had deliberately timed its broadcast of the allegations to negatively affect the ruling Country Liberal Party’s chances at the impending NT election.
"If 4 Corners want to get in the middle of an election campaign they've done a pretty good job of it ... I think certainly when you're going to run a program just weeks out from the Territory election it does point to something," he said.
He claimed the program had "put a target on the back of myself and my colleagues and those in the corrections industry".
"I've been particularly targeted, I've had death threats, other colleagues of mine have had death threats over a report of something that was done six years ago," he said.