North Australian Aboriginal Justice Association

A Massive Scandal at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Association

What can you even say anymore?

Is it any wonder the Albanese government refuses to audit spending on Indigenous services when things like this keep happening?

This time, it’s a massive scandal at the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Association, which recently appointed as its chair Hugh Woodbury, a man who pleaded guilty to assaulting his pregnant partner.

NAAJA knew of the guilty plea but went ahead and appointed Mr Woodbury anyway.

What sort of message is that sending?

Especially mere months after Anthony Albanese was lecturing about domestic violence and protecting women.

But he is not actually interested in fixing Indigenous disadvantage if it means he has to make hard decisions, and he is not interested in helping women.


This is an organisation that we know is operating in a context that is about preventing the unacceptable rates of family and domestic violence in Aboriginal communities.

So, appointing someone who has pleaded guilty to such an offence to run the show demonstrates astonishing double standards.

You can just imagine what the reaction would be if someone who’d admitted to something similar was appointed to lead a women’s legal services organisation.

I’m willing to bet we’d be hearing from the Prime Minister or the Attorney-General then.

Keep in mind that the NAAJA receives funding from the federal government of over $20 million a year to do their job.

So the government can’t wash their hands of this.

And this appointment comes on top of the fact that there has been a mass exodus of staff from NAAJA in the last 12 months.


And, even more troublingly, I uncovered in Senate Estimates that the inadequate service delivery from NAAJA has resulted in 75 unrepresented individuals, 21 of whom were remanded in custody between October 2023 and February 2024.

And since February this year, an additional 16 individuals were unrepresented, six of whom were remanded in custody.

And the response is to appoint someone with this track record!

This is simply not the time or the place to be making exceptions for people who exhibit such poor behaviour in their personal lives. 

We cannot hope for things to get better at NAAJA when we allow people on the board who have shown such flagrant disregard for human life.

And we are starting to run out of words to describe the disinterest and misplaced priorities from Anthony Albanese in the face of these problems.


Republished with thanks to Senator Jacinta Price. Image courtesy of Adobe.

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  1. Stephen 18 June 2024 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    thank you Javinta for highlighting anothet Alice Springs

  2. Margaret 20 June 2024 at 5:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you Jacinta for your article highlighting the mismanagement of Australia by the current federal government. Keep up the good fight & may God give you the strength & the courage to continue.

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