Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Macklin wrong again

"If Labor doesn’t accept that major Australian Government initiatives in Indigenous communities to improve law and order and enhance community safety aren’t the right approach, perhaps she should put her plans on the table," Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said today.

"As a direct result of my raising the issue of law order, a number of alleged paedophiles have been removed from communities, there has been significant disruption to the cross border drug trade in the NT, SA and WA with more than 500 charges being laid against almost 200 people and sniffer dog teams with supporting police are in place in Alice Springs.

"Communities like Wadeye are now the safest they have been for many, many years according to local police.

"Does Ms Macklin really believe that these things would have happened without the direct involvement of the Australian Government?

"Does Ms Macklin believe that had I not raised the issue of child abuse in some communities that the NT would have established a Child Abuse Taskforce which has led to the arrest of 14 people for child abuse offences?

"Does Ms Macklin believe that we should not have established a National Intelligence Task Force into violence and child abuse in Indigenous communities which is operating nationally and headquartered in Alice Springs?

"Does Ms Macklin believe that without our involvement, a strike team comprising NT and AFP officers would be being established to act on information gathered by the National Intelligence Taskforce? The NT is right now identifying officers to place in the strike teams.

"Does Ms Macklin believe that there would have been almost 200 people charged with more than 500 drug offences had we not established a Substance Abuse Intelligence Unit in early 2006 to target cross border drug trafficking?

"Does Ms Macklin believe that without the Australian Government’s involvement a sniffer dog team with four full time police would have been placed in Alice Springs, backed up by officers from other jurisdictions, to tackle substance abuse in communities if we hadn’t done it?

"Does Ms Macklin believe changing our legislation to remove customary law as a mitigating factor in sentencing is not appropriate. Does she not want states and territories to do the same, as we do?

"This is a strong record of achievement.

"We are working with the states and NT to determine where to locate police and the most desirable locations for rehabilitation centres and further information is required from states and territories to finalise those arrangements.

"Doesn’t Ms Macklin understand that policing is in fact a state issue?

"The $130 million, five year package I secured last year will assist states and the NT meet their responsibilities. But getting police on the ground requires further information from them before we can proceed.

"If Ms Macklin doesn’t support our approach, tell us what she would do."