Federal Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has called out media double standards as debate rages all week about Australian flag controversies amid a government apology over a shocking series of events which led to the murder of an Aboriginal baby.

Australian flags have been thrust into the media spotlight all week – first due to the proposed $25m cost to fly the Aboriginal flag over the Sydney Harbour Bridge then over Greens leader Adam Bandt on Monday sidelining the Australian flag from a press conference.

Two days later WA Attorney General John Quigley took the unprecedented step to pardon Tamica and Ted Mullaley over their 2013 arrests, during which time baby Charlie was abducted, sexually abused and killed by Ms Mullaley’s partner Mervyn Bell south of Karratha.

Mr Mullaley, the boy’s grandfather had warned police Bell was threatening to kill the baby and pleaded with police to take Charlie with them.

Family has given permission for use of this photo of Baby Charlie.

Mr Mullaley was charged with obstructing police, while Ms Mullaley was arrested for assaulting police after being found naked and bloodied outside a Broome home following a brutal assault from Bell.

Bell had fled the crime scene at the time of the Mullaley’s arrest, but later returned to abduct Charlie who had instead been placed in the care of friends.

“The system we thought we could rely on to support victims of crime failed Tamica and Ted, and they were dragged through the courts themselves,” Mr Quigley said on Wednesday.

The Attorney General described the police response as deficient and admitted Ms Mullaley was not treated as a domestic violence victim.

Ms Mullaley said racism was behind the police’s actions on that day, but said she believed nine years on they were heading in the right direction.

Ms Thorpe said the sorry saga’s media coverage was lacking compared to the flag debate.

“The press have spent a week writing about flags, where is the national outrage for this family,” she said.

“Where is the anger for the injustice that First Nations people face everyday.

“We are living in a world where there is more debate over a piece of cloth on a metal pole than the reprehensible actions of police which led to a baby’s kidnapping, assault and death.”

Ms Thorpe said the pardon and apology was not the end for the Mullaley’s fight for justice.

Calls for an inquest into Charlie’s death were in 2020 rejected and the CCC found no serious misconduct by Broome police.

The Greens are calling for independent police and prison oversight in Australia.

Bell killed himself in prison in 2015.

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