Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has sat down with Labor senator Pat Dodson to work out which recommendations of the Aboriginal deaths in custody royal commission have never been implemented.

Mr Scullion said the commission, on which Senator Dodson sat as a commissioner, reported 25 years ago and they thought it would be useful to track each of the 339 recommendations.

“Who took it over, is is still being implemented, if not why not because that is going to guide us on a lot of these other processes,” he said on Sky News.

The royal commission was launched in 1987 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 99 indigenous men in prison or in police custody. It reported in 1991.

Recommendations covered reforms to the criminal justice system and also to the improve indigenous disadvantage, the key reason why so many were in prison in the first place.

Mr Scullion said he’d been advised the all recommendations had been implemented, to which Senator Dodson retorted that he was an idiot.

“So we sat down to track down each of the recommendations,” he said.

One reason many had drifted was that their implementation had been entrusted to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission which had been abolished in 2005.

“This is a thing between me and Pat but it is actually informing parliament rather than government and I think it will be very useful,” he said.