The Government will recommend to His Excellency the Administrator of the Commonwealth, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC QC, the appointment of two Royal Commissioners: The Honourable Margaret White AO, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland and Mr Mick Gooda, who is currently the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Social Justice Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission.
The Government accepts and respects the decision of the Honourable Brian Ross Martin AO QC who announced his wish to retire from the Royal Commission today. We are also mindful of, and respect, his desire to protect the privacy of his family. We thank him for his willingness to serve.
Justice White served for more than two decades on the Supreme Court of Queensland, including as a member of the Court of Appeal. She has extensive experience in both the civil and criminal jurisdictions, and is well known and highly regarded among the judiciary and the legal profession throughout Australia. She is eminently well qualified to conduct this Royal Commission.
Mr Mick Gooda is a Gangulu man from Central Queensland and is well known as one of Australia’s most highly regarded Indigenous leaders. He has the respect of both sides of politics, as is evident from the fact that he was appointed as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner by a Labor government, and reappointed by the Coalition government.
The Government acknowledges the importance of having Indigenous voices on the Commission given the high number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children incarcerated in the Northern Territory detention system and who are involved in the child protection system.
Over the course of the last week, the Government has been speaking with Indigenous leaders, members of the community and justice advocates.
We have listened, and we have responded.
The important thing now is for the Royal Commission to get on with its work.
This Royal Commission has a vital goal - to investigate and expose the failings of the child protection and youth detention systems of the Northern Territory and in so doing ensure that those failings are corrected.
The Government welcomes the strong bipartisan support for the Royal Commission and trust that that bipartisan support will continue.