Thursday, 1 August 2019
I ask that Senator Lines be added to the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators Hanson-Young, Dodson and Lines, move:
That the Senate—
(i) that, in 1995, the Aboriginal Flag was recognised as a 'flag of Australia' under the Flags Act 1953,
(ii) that the designer of the Aboriginal flag owns the flag's copyright and has licensed the rights to use the flag on garments to a company which is now requiring people to ask for permission to use the emblem and pay a fee,
(iii) that the licence has now been expanded to physical and digital media,
(iv) that many First Nations communities feel they are now at the mercy of a company seeking to profit from their flag, and
(v) the concerns in many First Nations communities that their flag is licensed to a company; and
(b) recognises that the Aboriginal flag is one of Australia's national symbols and a central part of First Nations people's identity and that the flag should be about people and pride, not profit; and
(c) calls on the Federal Government to do everything they can to ensure that all First Nations peoples and communities can use the flag whenever they want without cost or the need for consent.
Under the Copyright Act 1968, Mr Harold Thomas has exclusive rights to communicate, reproduce and publish the Aboriginal flag. The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt AM, has met with Mr Thomas following various concerns around its reproduction and use. Mr Thomas shared his and his family's deep concern to protect the integrity of the flag for all Australians and reiterated his creative rights to his artwork. Both the minister and Mr Thomas agreed that the Aboriginal flag is a powerful and unifying symbol for Aboriginal Australians and is respected by many non-Aboriginal Australians. All Australians are welcome to fly and physically display the flag. The Australian government recognises and respects Mr Thomas's copyright on the Aboriginal flag.
Question agreed to.