Minister Dale Wakefield (centre) with positive loiterers soon after more than 50 cars were damaged by street kids in the Kittle dealership in the background of the photo.
By ERWIN CHLANDA
Families Minister Dale Wakefield will give no clear answers to questions of what – if anything – she will be doing about threats of extreme violence to children. These may well include children in her statutory care or, if at risk, also the responsibility of her sole portfolio.
The threats are being posted on Facebook’s Alice Springs Community Open Forum – the one shown at right – made by a seemingly proud father holding his infant son in his arms.
We gave Ms Wakefield two days’ notice of questions we would put to her during an interview yesterday: “Will you do anything about this, and if so what?” we asked, having also sent her the full text of this post.
At the interview she responded by asking me what I had done. I told her I had reported it to the police who, as far as I knew, had done nothing.
NEWS: These are your kids. Let’s get this right.
NEWS: So should the police be doing something?
WAKEFIELD: Clearly that is an unacceptable threat and I would be suggesting that you also report it to Facebook.
NEWS: I am asking you what you will do.
WAKEFIELD: Can I have a five minute window to finish my answer? It’s not as straight forward as a tick a box answer. These issues are nuanced. They are complex. They are part of a whole range of issues within our community that we need to be tackling. For me to say yes or no is not really in the spirit of the complexity of the issues.
NEWS: So you will be doing something?
WAKEFIELD: No, I didn’t … We are always very concerned about issues of abusive behaviour in whatever context it is. Those behaviours have been with us for the whole of humanity and Facebook provides a different tool, a different platform. I find that comment very concerning. So I would be suggesting if people find things on Facebook that they are offended by [they should] report it to police and then it’s a police decision whether to act on that or not.
NEWS: I am not asking you for your view about what other people should be doing. I want to know what you will be doing.
WAKEFIELD: What I am saying is that – this is what I am encouraging people to do and what I would do if I were in those circumstances …
NEWS: You are responsible for those kids.
WAKEFIELD: I have not seen this post, I understand it is down, is it still live?
NEWS: I don’t know, it was there for a good long time.
WAKEFIELD: I am more than happy if there is a threat made to respond appropriately … but the police are the appropriate authority to act.
NEWS: Will you have a chat with the police about that?
WAKEFIELD: I had a meeting with police just then, around a whole range of issues.
NEWS: Did you tell them to go and do their job on this one specifically?
WAKEFIELD: I haven’t talked to them specifically about that.