Australian state Labor government threatens violence against detained youth
Eric Ludlow and Patrick Kelly
31 January 2017
The Labor Party government in the state of Victoria announced Friday that 40 adult prison guards will be deployed to two youth detention centres as part of a crackdown on alleged child rioters.
The guards will be armed with batons and capsicum spray. They will also be authorised to use tear gas against targeted youth detained in the justice system. Premier Daniel Andrews described the move as a “profound change” and “big step” to security arrangements at the Parkville and Malmsbury youth centres. In a menacing press conference, he declared the guards had the training and equipment “to return order” and they would “be charged with doing just that.”
The premier also announced the construction of a new high security youth detention centre, supposedly to isolate serious and violent offenders. Describing what will effectively serve as an adult-style prison for children, Andrews declared it “a significant investment … it will be many hundreds of millions of dollars, but it is absolutely necessary.”
This follows the government’s announcement in December that $2 billion will be allocated to expanding the police force by an unprecedented 20 percent.
The state Labor government’s measures are part of the Australian ruling elite’s wider assault on basic legal and democratic rights. Repressive measures are being especially directed against working class youth, as the political establishment anticipates stepped up social and political unrest.
Last year, the brutal treatment of youth detainees, many of Aboriginal descent, in the Northern Territory was exposed. Boys were assaulted and tear-gassed by detention guards, and hooded and…