When harm is incurred, there are three little magic words that people seem to believe alleviates them of all social, moral and ethical responsibility. ‘I didn’t know’. When Big Daddy Malcolm rang Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion with what I can only imagine was a pretty cranky dressing down, Nige was caught with his ideological pants down. I mean its hard to win the hearts of the Australian people when you’ve been torturing their children. Last week the ABC aired graphic footage of young people (predominantly indigenous) being strapped to chairs and tear gassed at the Darwin’s Don Dale Youth Detention Centre. Spine chilling stuff. Sickening, stomach turning images that once seen can’t be unseen. Abuse that makes your blood go cold and reinstigates that well of white guilt for what seems to be an unending legacy of white violence against our first nation. You can’t not know. People had to know. It’s just no one who should have been interested was interested. Thats why nothing happened until it hit our screens and the government was shamed into announcing a Royal Commission. Like that somehow absolves them of the significant harms that have been caused. The story that aired the other night wasn’t the first time the abuse was reported in the media. It was published in NT News and The Australian a year ago. So its been on the public record for at least 12 months. But Senator Scullion didn’t know. He was too busy reading Harry Potter. Again. Getting ready for the new release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this week. Ironically, Scullion could be the author of his own book: Nigel Scullion and the Cursed Children. This is what Scullion said to the ABC last week when he was asked about his total lack of engagement or action on the issue thus far: ‘I wish I knew what I know today yesterday afternoon or some time ago, but the facts of the matter were I didn’t know, I had never seen the vision, it hadn’t come to my attention, hadn’t piqued my interest….’. Really? So which is it? You didn’t know or you weren’t sufficiently interested? If you don’t know, then how can something you don’t know in the first place ever fail to pique your interest? I’m no lawyer but I think you’ll find that they’re two pretty different statements. Either you don’t know. Full stop. Or you do. And if you didn’t really show interest and you admit as much it kind of infers that you had chosen to let it slip. Like you kind of knew something…..I wonder how one can only half know about something like that? As an Indigenous Affairs Minister, wouldn’t the violent abuse of Indigenous Children be red flagged as requiring urgent and immediate action? And does one actually need to see ‘vision’ to be appalled? To realise that this is horrendous abuse and deprivation? Wouldn’t you take immediate action? There have been reports into the youth justice system in the NT and the Youth Detention Centres going back as far as 2012. Doesn’t someone in the office photocopy them and bring the down to the Minister for a bit of a read? If Nige is too busy with Harry Potter, then shouldn’t one of his many over paid public servants have had a read and advised accordingly? Obviously those reports didn’t include pictures so if negligent Nige actually got the report, then clearly he drifted off. Voldemort is so much more compelling than a hooded black boy being strapped to chair. One wonders what Nige scribbled in the margins of these apparently dull dossiers on the humiliation and brutalisation of children? ‘Couldn’t get into it. Needs pictures. I’ll wait for the movie.’ Guess what Nige. The movie just happened. That’s perfect timing for the ‘I didn’t know’. The three words chorused by villain’s everywhere. When Cardinal George Pell was questioned about the activities of paedophile priest and former house mate Gerald Ridsdale, he also said ‘it wasn’t of much interest to me’. Hmm, like Scullion it seemed that his interest wasn’t sufficiently ‘piqued’. Curious when you consider the lofty and socially responsible roles assigned to these apparently morally ambivalent men. ‘I didn’t know’ is the chorus of cowards happily singing their songs of self interest. Well dickheads, now everyone knows.