CLANT welcomes Natasha Fyles, A-G

CLANT welcomes and congratulates the Gunner Government Ministers, and the first ever majority female Cabinet in Australia.  In particular, we look forward to working with:

  • Natasha Fyles, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. 
  • Dale Wakefield, Minister for Territory Families, with responsibility for youth justice, including youth detention
  • Michael Gunner, Minister for Police, Fire & Emergency Services; and 
  • Jeff Collins, Assistant Minister for Police, Fire & Emergency Services. 

CDU Health & Law workshop: call for papers

Charles Darwin University is calling for papers for its Health and Law  Research Workshop and Student Showcase 4 - 5 October 2016.

Get your abstract in by 20 September 2016.  Here are the details.

Congratulations to the new Gunnerment! Now let's Make Justice Work.

CLANT congratulates the Gunner team on its resounding electoral success.  CLANT is a member of the Making Justice Work coalition, which campaigned with six "Election Asks":

  1. Aboriginal Justice Agreement
  2. Specialist and therapeutic courts
  3. Rehabilitation and reintegration
  4. Reduce the number of young people being locked up
  5. Abolish mandatory sentencing
  6. Comprehensive plan to deal with alcohol

Making Justice Work invited candidates to respond.  Here was Territory Labor's commitment:

"Territory Labor broadly supports the Making Justice Work campaign. Labor supports the development of an Aboriginal Justice Agreement with our community. It complements our approach to social policy and social justice of investing in children and young people’s health, education and wellbeing, and investing in long term, place based solutions to complex social issues."

CLANT looks forward to working with the new Northern Territory Government to implement these much-needed reforms.


Prisoner repatriation and visitors transport

NAAJA, CAALAS and CLANT have sent this joint submission to the Northern Territory Commissioner of Corrections urging the restoration of the prisoner repatriation scheme, and the provision of public transport for visitors to the Darwin Correctional Centre.

Alcohol Regulation and Family Violence

CLANT President Russell Goldflam presents this paper on pdfAlcohol Regulation and Family Violence to the AIJA Indigenous Justice Conference on 26 August 2016.  The conference program, with links to papers, is here.

NTWLA Patron's Drinks 31 August 2016

Patrons Drinks Invitation 2016 v2

Middlebrook's appointment to Parole Board ill-advised

CLANT considers that the reported appointment of former Northern Territory Commissioner of Corrections Mr Ken Middlebrook as a community member of the Northern Territory Parole Board was ill-advised.  The composition of the Board is framed by the Parole Act to ensure that its ten appointed community members “reflect as closely possible, the composition of the community at large”.  With his extensive prior involvement in Northern Territory correctional services, including as a statutory member of the Parole Board while he was Commissioner, Mr Middlebrook is in CLANT's view not well suited to be chosen as a person to “reflect… the community at large”.  In addition, his membership of the Board gives rise to a perception that he would be influenced by his extensive prior involvement with, professional interest in and personal knowledge of many of the prisoners whose applications for parole are considered by the Board.  That perception could in turn impair public confidence in the integrity, impartiality and independence of the Board.

CLANT makes no comment about the performance of Ken Middlebrook as Corrections Commissioner, or the circumstances of his departure from that position.


The Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory welcomes a meaningful Royal Commission with Terms of Reference broad enough to ensure a thorough enquiry into the treatment of young people who are detained, at risk of detention or fall within the care of the Minister.

Tales of atrocities and abuse directed at young people in detention within the NT have long been the source of frustration for CLANT members.

The inaction and ambivalence by the Northern Territory Government to remedy systemic flaws has been an ongoing concern.

The demonization of young offenders by politicians and sections of the media has served to lend legitimacy to increasingly punitive responses by custodians for the most disadvantaged and vulnerable juveniles. Such actions have only now been condemned after brave and tenacious individuals spoke out on the 4 Corners program garnering widespread attention.

The evidence is now clear and unambiguous, an overhaul of the Youth Justice System is essential.

Fragile young lives remain in jeopardy as legal and indigenous organisations struggle with limited resources and funding.

CLANT calls for:

  • The establishment of an effective, continuous, independent and strong oversight body backed by the Northern Territory, Commonwealth and international law;
  • A purpose built Youth Detention Centre staffed by well trained officers;
  • Increased funding from both Commonwealth and Territory Governments for frontline legal services within the NT; and
  • Increased accommodation options for young people who are eligible for bail or at risk of homelessness.

The rehabilitation of children must be the first priority for any future government. We must break the cycle, reduce imprisonment and recidivism.

The time has come to effect long term change.

Australia must urgently ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

Ratification and incorporation of the OPCAT provisions into domestic law will provide additional safeguards against human rights abuses in detention centres and ensure international legal norms and standards are met.

Further information about CLANT's position on this issue can be found here:


Contact: Nicola MacCarron, (08) 8999 3000

Who wants an NT ICAC?

CLANT welcomes the publication of this Report by Justice Brian R Martin following his Inquiry into the establishment of a Northern Territory Anti-Corruption, Integrity and Misconduct Commission. 

On 7 July 2016, Chief Minister Giles was reported as saying that his government would consider the findings and recommendations of the Martin Inquiry.  However, on about 12 July 2016 Mr Giles stated that he considers that existing NT government agencies have sufficient powers to fight political corruption.  Noting that the CLP did not make a submission to the Inquiry, CLANT wonders whether the CLP will campaign at the forthcoming election for the establishment of an NT ICAC.

By contrast, Territory Labor did make a submission to the Martin Inquiry, and on 13 July 2016 Oppostion Leader Michael Gunner reiterated Territory Labor’s continued support for the establishment of an NT ICAC.

CLANT, which also supports the establishment of an ICAC for the NT, made this submission to the Martin Inquiry.

2016 NT Human Rights Awards: Save the date 7 December 2016

Preparations are well underway for this year’s Northern Territory Human Rights Awards, the Fitzgeralds.

As the United Nations Day for Human Rights (10 December 2016) falls on a Saturday, the Award ceremony will be held on Wednesday 7 December 2016 from 5:30 pm. Please place it in your diary.

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG is confirmed as the guest speaker.

Nominations will open 3 October 2016. This year each Award will have an individual and organisational category.

Start planning your nomination now.

CLANT has been a proud sponsor of the Fitzgeralds since their inception in 2014.

AIJA Indigenous Justice Conference: Alice Springs 25-26 August 2016

Here is the Programme and here is the Registration Guide for the AIJA Indigenous Justice at Alice Springs on 25 to 26 August 2016.

CLANT is proud to be a sponsor of this Conference.

the Registration Guide

Congrats Felicity Gerry QC

CLANT heartily congratulates our Vice-President, Felicity Gerry QC, on being awarded the UK Solicitors Journal 2016 Legal Personality of the Year Award.  Here is the Award citation:

36 Bedford Row silk Felicity Gerry QC scooped the highly coveted Legal Personality award following her work on R v Jogee. The landmark decision saw the Supreme Court find that the controversial principle of joint enterprise had been wrongly interpreted for more than three decades.

The human rights barrister has received praise for her campaigning work for the release of Lindsay Sandiford, the British grandmother currently facing a firing squad in Bali and for assisting in the last minute reprieve from execution of Filipina Mary Jane Veloso.

'I was delighted to win this award especially with such exceptional competition. I hope it inspires other women with personality to achieve in the law,' said Gerry. 

CDU First Nations Workshop: call for papers

The School of Law, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia will hold its second Law Research Workshop and Student Showcase on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th August 2016 to exchange knowledge related to the theme of Empowering and Disempowering First Nations People through Law and Policy.

The organisers have issued this call for papers. 

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