Dutton blasts 'PC' response to child abuse
Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton at a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, May 24, 2018. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has blasted the "politically correct" responses to the abuse of indigenous children in remote communities.
Mr Dutton has hit out at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, police and the Northern Territory government as the insidious issue garners national attention.
Mr Shorten has drawn sustained criticism from some conservative commentators after suggesting last week that too many indigenous children were being taken from their families.
He took aim at "know-it-all whitefellas" imposing paternalistic policies on Aboriginal communities, promising to include indigenous Australians in a future Labor government's decision-making on the issue.
Mr Shorten has since struck back at the "absurd misrepresentation" of his comments, after being accused of failing indigenous children.
"My commitment is that children should be safe in all communities regardless of their skin colour," he said on Wednesday.
Mr Shorten's initial remarks stemmed from questions about the February rape of a toddler in Tennant Creek, who remained with relatives despite the family being the subject of 52 child protection notifications over 16 years.
Mr Dutton gave the opposition leader a spray during a radio interview on Thursday.
"I can't understand how you can have a child of any age being sexually assaulted and somebody who wants to be prime minister of this country saying 'don't lecture these families about this instance'," Mr Dutton told 2GB radio.
"If a child was raped in my electorate today, or in Sydney, anywhere across the country, there would be outrage if that child wasn't removed from that circumstance or the police didn't properly investigate the matter, or somehow they were being told for cultural reasons you can't go to that house or you can't remove that child."
Mr Dutton said he couldn't care less about anything other than the welfare of the children.
"If we turn a blind eye to that or think for cultural reasons or because we're going to offend indigenous leaders that we shouldn't be talking about this or we shouldn't remove that child from the circumstances, then we're in a bad place," he said.
The minister's criticisms were not contained to Mr Shorten.
"There's a massive failing in these indigenous communities where police have lost control of the law and order situation," Mr Dutton said.
"You've got the territory government, who it seems to me is not prepared to act in the best interests of these kids, and it needs to be called out."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been forced to defend his own response to the two-year-old's rape, after being accused by the Northern Territory newspaper of failing to care about the crisis.
"Our commitment to keeping children safe is absolute," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Tasmania.
"To suggest that the federal government is not putting enormous resources into support the Northern Territory or lacks empathy or concern for children many the Northern Territory is absolutely false."
© AAP 2018