The Don Dale youth detention centre in the Northern Territory. Photograph: Reuters
In September the Human Rights Law Centre warned the system was at risk of breaching human rights and asked the UN to investigate.
McCarthy said the NT government had done nothing on juvenile detention in two years and that was a reflection of Giless capacity as leader.
It is deeply disturbing to see any child treated in such a manner as that footage from 2014, McCarthy said. Whats alarming is that the chief minister was given numerous reports, he was told by his childrens ministerthere was a crisis. If he chose not to see reports or go to his attorney general to see the full vision, then that is a reflection of his capacity as leader.
McCarthy said Giles should provide an assurance that young people are now being looked after in a humane way and provided with rehabilitation rather than brutalisation.
Antoinette Carroll, the chair of the Youth Justice Advisory Committee, first lodged the complaint over Vollers treatment about six years ago. The complaint went straight to the then childrens commissioner, Howard Bath, who launched an investigation.
Carroll says she is almost certain it would have been highlighted with the Labor government minister at the time, although she cant be sure.
She notes however that the childrens commissioners report on the Voller case has been sitting with the current cabinet for some time and they have refused to release it.In the wake of the Four Corners episode there have been rumblings that the public will see it soon.
Carroll said there has been endless lobbying of both the Department of Family and Childrens Services and the Department of Correctional Services over the past three years regarding persons in care, to which they would get insufficient response or no action.
It didnt come across as a collaborative government, she said.
DCF and DCC did not work effectively. Both departments were not guided by best practice and evidence-based solutions aimed at supporting young people in detention.
Jared Sharp, a lawyer with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, said it had to be noted the children at the centre of all the controversy had been victims of prolonged isolation.
The worst aspect was the indefinite nature of it these kids had no idea how long they would stay in these circumstances, Sharp tells Guardian Australia. Thats why I would describe it as torture.
In January 2015, then CLP frontbencher Robyn Lambley spoke extensively against complaints about the new facility, claiming it was an improvement on the old centre and that to build a new one would come at the cost of the Palmerston hospital. The childrens commissioner launched an inquiry into the teargassing incident.
In 2014 the NT government commissioned its own review, bringing in Michael Vita. Vitas report was released first, in February 2015. The childrens commissioner now Colleen Gwynne released hers in September 2015.
Both reports were discussed publicly and in parliament.
Both were damning but differed on key aspects notably Vita found the use of teargas justifiable, but Gwynne later found the account of the incident as it was written in his report to be inaccurate.
Both those reports, from Vita and Bath, informed the government that they had been misled by corrections officers in their investigation, said Darwin barrister John Lawrence. There were no repercussions.
The childrens commissioners report accused the corrections commissioner of overstating history in his accounts, and said: The report to police that five detainees had escaped their cells and assaulted staff with shards of glass, bricks and steel poles was also inaccurate and misleading.
Factually incorrect and misleading information was also provided to the minister, it found.
The report also included transcripts of the video Elferink later claimed ignorance of on Four Corners. Handicam footage recorded an exchange between staff in the room: No, let the fucker come through because when he comes through he will be off balance, Ill pulverize, Ill pulverize the little fucker, the transcript read.
Oh shit, were recording hey [laughs].
Middlebrook told Guardian Australia at the time the report misrepresents the circumstances and lead-up at the time of the incident. He said the boys were violent and threatening, and defended the calls made at the time, including his own to authorise the use of teargas. Its all good in hindsight to write a report but on the night it was a very serious incident, he said.
It was later revealed Middlebrook had told media teargas was sprayed just twice, when it was in fact 10 shots through the window.
The September reports findings sparked outrage among legal and advocacy groups, who warned of an imminent risk of human rights violations. The UN was urged to investigate the teargas and spit-hood incident, but when asked about it in December more than a year after it happened and two months after Baths report Giles responded that he did not know anything about that allegation.
There appeared to be an astonishing lack of response from government, complacently was the mode of response, said Antoinette Carroll.
Elferink was increasingly under siege but defended those under him. There were more than 35 escapes across the adult and juvenile correctional system in 18 months. But when a convicted rapist and axe murderer escaped from a work release camp he should never been allowed to participate in, it was the last straw.
All this occurred in the context of a highly controversial, combative parliament, which saw infighting and scandals reduce the CLP to a minority government.
A couple of attempted leadership coups and more than a dozen ministerial reshuffles saw portfolios bounce from minister to minister and for the partys focus to shift decidedly inwards.
Amid their tenuous grip on power and plummeting support in opinion polls, it has pushed a tough-on-crime agenda, with a significant increase in incarceration.
The CLP government has passed legislation widening the use of restraints, it sought to pass bail removing the presumption of bail for repeat offenders both adult and bad kids and entertained the notion of locking up kids found wandering the street after hours.
Funding cuts to youth activities, which Elferink referred to as sundry services, was blamed by social workers for a spike in youth crime in Alice Springs.
There are also calls for Elferink to be sacked prior to the August 2016 election to ensure he has no involvement in determining the terms of reference and establishment of the royal commission. The peak body representing Aboriginal legal, health and social service bodies in the NT has joined calls by Mick Gooda, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner, for the entire NT government to be dismissed.
Giless views are in a sense no surprise. His hardline campaign in government began in opposition. In 2010, in remarks widely shared again this week, Giles told parliament hed love to be corrections minister.
It is not the portfolio I really aspire to but, if I was the prisons minister, I would build a big concrete hole and put all the bad criminals in there: Right, you are in the hole, you are not coming out. Start learning about it. I might break every United Nations convention on the rights of the prisoner but, Get in the hole.