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Shorten to consult on indigenous issues

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016 Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Bill Shorten says there's a risk Aboriginal voices will be ignored in the royal commission into youth detention.

The Labor leader will return from a week's leave on Saturday to hold talks in Darwin and attend the Garma Festival in northeast Arnhem Land.

In Darwin, he will discuss the royal commission and juvenile justice with peak indigenous groups as well as Northern Territory Children's Commissioner Colleen Gwynne and NT Labor leader Michael Gunner.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been criticised for failing to properly consult with Aboriginal organisations in the NT about the royal commission, which he outlined on Thursday and will be headed by former NT chief justice Brian Martin.

Mr Shorten took on the indigenous affairs portfolio in a post-election Labor reshuffle.

"This royal commission can't be another exercise where Aboriginal voices are ignored," he said.

"We have to begin the process by listening to the people who know the flaws in the system and have been trying to warn us about them.

Shorten to consult on indigenous issues © AAP/ANDREW TAYLOR Shorten to consult on indigenous issues "If we don't listen to the experts, advocates and communities in the NT, we will just repeat the failures of the past."

Attorney-General George Brandis and Mr Turnbull consulted two of the most prominent indigenous spokespeople in Australia - Mick Gooda and Warren Mundine - in drafting the terms of reference for the inquiry.

However, acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek was told of the terms and the name of the commissioner after the decision was made by cabinet.

The royal commission - which was sparked by an ABC Four Corners program showing abuse of young detainees in the NT's Don Dale centre - is expected to hold a directions hearing in early September.

Mr Shorten has his wife Chloe will attend the Garma Festival, along with WA senator Patrick Dodson and NT senator Malarndirri McCarthy.

He will deliver a speech, meet with Aboriginal leaders, and participate in a forum on eliminating domestic violence.

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