In the Northern Territory (NT), all children in youth detention are Aboriginal and their numbers have been steadily growing over the past decade. This article examines the transcripts of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory (2016-17) (hereafter the Royal Commission) to uncover processes and discourses of exclusion of Aboriginal children who have been rendered by the state surplus to humanity. It draws attention to the state’s practices in youth detention and the justifications of guards and detention managers before the Royal Commission as premised on notions of Aboriginal children’s disorder and deviance. This characterisation, and the ensuing harmful state practices, have taken on a new intensity since the federal govern ment introduced racially discriminatory policies and practices in 2007 in order to restrict the rights of Aboriginal people living in remote NT communities and town camps.
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