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Australia NT Treaty Commissioner Mick Dodson resigns following verbal abuse allegation

12:11  11 june  2021
12:11  11 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Mick Dodson wearing a hat: Professor Dodson issued a detailed statement late on Friday. (ABC News: Mike Donnelly) © Provided by ABC NEWS Professor Dodson issued a detailed statement late on Friday. (ABC News: Mike Donnelly)

Northern Territory Treaty Commissioner Mick Dodson tendered his resignation from the role, saying his behaviour had "fallen short of the high standards I seek to uphold".

The NT government says his resignation took effect from close of business today.

It follows a complaint that Treaty Minister Selena Uibo previously said she received regarding the commissioner in late March.

According to Sky News, the alleged incident involved the former Australian of the Year verbally abusing a woman during an NTFL game at Marrara Stadium in Darwin in January.

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Chief Minister Michael Gunner later said in a statement he had lost confidence in Professor Dodson's ability to perform his role after a second allegation of verbal abuse was reported by the NT News.

Professor Dodson released a statement confirming his resignation late on Friday afternoon.

"I offer my resignation with deep sadness to be leaving this important work, while recognising that my behaviour has fallen short of the high standards that I seek to uphold," it said.

Professor Dodson's lawyer previously told Sky News his client did not recall the alleged incident at the stadium, but agreed the description of it was "disgraceful".

His statement today said the allegations were "deeply regrettable" and he sincerely apologised to the people involved.

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"I am currently coming to terms with significant childhood trauma in my life, which has resulted in diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder and associated mental health challenges," the statement said.

"Over the years, I have tried to manage this as best I could with limited professional support, which has also been interrupted during the pandemic.

"These incidents have also given me cause to stop and reflect, and to seek treatment for these previously unresolved issues."

He said it was in his own best interest and that of the Treaty Commission that he step back from public life to improve his mental health.

"While disappointing, my actions do not reflect my commitment to helping others in a life-long career dedicated to my people and public service," the statement said.

"After investing the time needed to work on my health, I intend to continue working for my community and my people."

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The allegations prompted the NT opposition to campaign for Professor Dodson to stand down, and the party said it planned to move a motion to have his position terminated in Parliament next week.

The NT government previously said an investigation into the first allegation had concluded, but would not disclose its outcome.

Professor Dodson had been on sick leave for several weeks.

A Yawuru man from the Broome region, Professor Dodson was named the Australian of the Year in 2009 for his work advocating for the rights of Indigenous Australians.

As Treaty Commissioner, he had been steering consultations with Indigenous people to come up with a framework for treaty negotiations.

Professor Dodson was appointed to the role in 2019.


Video: Mick Dodson told to resign as NT Treaty Commissioner (Sky News Australia)

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