Yarrawonga Chronicle

Aboriginal flags call for council

- BY ROBERT MUIR

“It is very important we recognise our indigenous counterpar­ts in both chambers,” Cr Thomas said at council’s monthly meeting on August 17.

“A lot of other councils have both flags in chamber.” Neighbouri­ng shires such as Indigo and Moira have the Aboriginal Flag outside and/or inside their buildings.

Currently, in the Corowa Chamber there is an Australian Flag and Union Flag (United Kingdom Flag) while there are an Australian Flag and NSW State Flag displayed in the Urana Chamber.

Some lively debate occurred on the subject following a Notice of Motion by Cr Thomas, which was subsequent­ly seconded by Cr Norm Wales but also including a fourth flag, the State Flag of NSW, be added at the suggestion of Cr Fred Longmire.

The motion passed by council was, however, that a council staff report related to associated costs involved for the Aboriginal Flag come back for councillor­s’ further considerat­ion.

Deputy mayor Shaun Whitechurc­h mentioned the Murray River Federation Flag for inclusion and asked: ‘Where are we going to stop?

“It is not a carnival, it is a council chamber. It’s not a place to be putting flags up all over the wall.”

Cr Andrew Kennedy raised the subject of cost in having the Aboriginal Flag in the chamber and whether paying of rights would be involved, which he believed “should be checked out before a final decision”.

Mayor Pat Bourke said: “Maybe it does need a further look.”

Cr Thomas asked: “Is it a cost or respect factor?” The mayor responded there’s always respect but that council should ascertain if it’s thousands or hundreds of dollars involved.

The Aboriginal Flag should be installed in the council chambers of the Corowa Civic Centre and the Urana office according to Councillor Bronwyn Thomas of Federation Council.

Cr Paul Miegel said as a council, he believes Federation Council acknowledg­es significan­ce of First Nation people at the beginning of every council meeting

“It is not about the respect. It is only about whether it is the duplicatio­n of that respect and whether we need visual and verbal,” he added.

Federation Council’s General Manager Adrian Butler did not anticipate an overly costly exercise regarding the Aboriginal Flag but would have research undertaken accordingl­y.

“Sometimes we get compliment­ary flags from the Commonweal­th Government or Governor-General,” he said.

Cr Thomas is Chair of Murray Darling Associatio­n Region 2 and referred to the associatio­n’s support for a process to promote greater representa­tion of First Nation people in Local

Government and in water policy – which was recently recommende­d by her.

“As Chair of MDA Region 2 and responsibl­e for advocacy of this recommenda­tion it is be noted that Local Government respect to our Indigenous counterpar­ts includes proudly installing the Indigenous Flags in chamber,” she said.

“The Australian Aboriginal Flag was designed by artist Mr Harold Thomas and first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide, South Australia, on National Aborigines Day in July 1971, which is known as NAIDOC Week.

“We acknowledg­e that The Australian Aboriginal flag is protected under copyright by Mr Thomas and with Mr Thomas awarding the licence for the manufactur­e and marketing of the Australian Aboriginal Flag to Carroll and Richardson Flagworld. Permission is not required to fly the Australian Aboriginal Flag.

“These flags in chamber are a highly visible symbol of respect and promoting a sense of community: considerin­g Federation Council are in the process of adopting a “Reconcilia­tion Action Plan” with key stakeholde­r engagement in progress for endorsemen­t by both council and Reconcilia­tion Australia.”

Cr Thomas’s Notice of Motion also included updating the honour boards and having a photograph of councillor­s.

“Our honour boards do need updating,” she said. Emphasisin­g the word “fabulous”, Cr Thomas said: “Council should add the councillor­s photo in the Corowa and Urana Chambers in respect of the last four fabulous years of the inaugural Federation Council representa­tives.”

Mr Butler advised action is underway regarding the updating of honour boards and arranging for a photograph of the council’s nine councillor­s.

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 ??  ?? Outside the Shire Hall of Yarrawonga, the Australian and Aboriginal Flags fly.
Outside the Shire Hall of Yarrawonga, the Australian and Aboriginal Flags fly.

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