NT Treaty Commissioner Mick Dodson is being investigated by the Territory Government over claims he threatened and verbally abused an Aboriginal woman at a football match earlier this year.
Sky News reported that Mr Dodson, a former Australian of the Year, is accused of using sexually degrading comments, calling the high-profile woman a “slut” and threatening to “knock her f**king lights out”, during an NTFL match in corporate boxes at TIO Stadium.
The NT Independent understands the woman filed a complaint with Minister for Treaty Selena Uibo in March, who then forwarded it on to the Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet.
Mr Dodson was then inexplicably given an extension to respond to the woman’s complaint by head public servant Jodie Ryan, who is leading the government’s investigation.
It remains unclear if he has formally responded and Ms Ryan did not say why he was given an extension.
It’s understood it has not been referred as a criminal matter at this stage.
Ms Uibo told Sky News that she could not comment, other than to say she took the complaint “extremely seriously”.
“There is now a formal process underway and I cannot comment further,” she said.
Mr Dodson’s lawyers told Sky News that he did not recall the incident, but did not deny it.
“Professor Dodson has for many years been treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which emanates from childhood,” the lawyer’s statement said.
“Professor Dodson has no recall of the incident complained of and his medical practitioners inform the disassociation is a symptom of his medical condition.
“Upon being advised of the incident Professor Dodson’s immediate response to the complainant’s representatives was to agree with their description of the alleged conduct as being disgraceful.”
The statement added that Mr Dodson attempted to meet with the complainant “to extend his remorse” and is seeking treatment for the effects of PTSD and that he “requests privacy” at this time.
The lawyer also said he would continue as Treaty Commissioner.
Dodson was paid $290k last financial year, Opposition calls for him to stand aside while investigation is underway
NT Government records show Mr Dodson was paid nearly $290,000 through his private consultancy company last financial year for “services as Treaty Commissioner”.
Mr Dodson was also on Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission.
Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro called for Mr Dodson to stand aside as Treaty Commissioner while the investigation is ongoing.
“It’s certainly very concerning,” she told Mix 104.9.
“We think while the investigation takes place, the commissioner should stand aside and allow that process to happen.
“Obviously as a commissioner you hold a very high office and standing in our community and so while something like this is underway and being investigated he should step aside.
Ms Finocchiaro added that the government needed to explain what they know about the incident and what action they have taken to date.
“Obviously, there is that investigation, but, you know this is a government who are happy to go out and march for women’s rights and undertake all those sort of public statements around ending violence against women. But have they called for the commissioner to stand aside during the investigation?
“If they knew about it in March, why are they hiding this?”
Questions to the government went unanswered.