*Featured Image: Mark Kriedemann.

The Federal Government has voted against a Labor Party motion to hang the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags alongside the Australian flag in the Senate chamber.

That’s despite it being NAIDOC Week; a week dedicated to celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Liberal Minister Anne Ruston said in defending the decision: “There are many places and circumstances to appropriately display the flags of our nations, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. The Government believes that the Australian national flag that represents all Australians, is the only appropriate flag to be flown in the Senate chamber.”


Indigenous Labor Senators Malarndirri McCarthy and Pat Dodson, and Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe, first put the motion to Parliament three months ago. They were asking to permanently display the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags with the Australian national flag.

Their motion was narrowly defeated 29 to 28 votes.

“Why is it that in this week of NAIDOC that the Government could be so mean spirited as to not dig deeper. The Government has actually had this motion before them for three months. It wasn’t a surprise,” Ms McCarthy said.

Ms Thorpe noted it was the “ugly violent head of colonial oppression.”

Speaking directly to the Senate Ms Thorpe said “the Aboriginal flag represents the oldest living culture in the world. The Aboriginal flag is what we identify with, what we connect with, just as you connect with the colonial flag that you love and that you appeal to.”

Ms McCarthy says that the Morrison Governments decision was “shameful”.

“The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags are national flags of Australia, recognised since 1995 under the Flags Act 1953. All three flags are flying outside Parliament House during NAIDOC Week, yet not inside the two houses of Parliament.

Indigenous Snake

(Photo: Mark Kriedemann)

NAIDOC week celebrations run until the 15th of November, with local community events taking place across Australia.

– Story, Ricky Kirby,@rickykirb Additional editing, Jacinta Neal @Jacinta_Neal