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.”
in the Senate just now, the government voted down this motion calling for Aboriginal Flag & Torres Strait Islander Flag to be hung with the Australian flag in the Senate
Govt says that the only flag "appropriate" in the Senate is the Aus flag
voted down 28-29
it's NAIDOC Week pic.twitter.com/kOjYopFBRA
— Josh Butler (@JoshButler) November 10, 2020
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.”
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.