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Sensitivity Warning

First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.


This Senate Select Committee was established to inquire into and report on current and former copyright and licensing arrangements for the Aboriginal flag design, with particular reference to:

  1. who benefits from payments for the use of the Aboriginal Flag design and the impact on Aboriginal organisations, Aboriginal communities and the broader Australian community of the current copyright and licensing arrangements;
  2. options available to the Government to enable the Aboriginal Flag design to be freely used by the Australian community:
  3. any other matters relevant to the enduring and fair use of the Aboriginal Flag design by the Aboriginal and Australian community.

Key recommendations:

The committee recommends that the Commonwealth government does not compulsorily acquire the copyright for the Aboriginal flag under Section 51(xxxi) of the Australian Constitution.

The committee recommends that, in the negotiations underway with Mr Harold Thomas and the current licensees, the Commonwealth government aims to achieve a model for the future use of the Aboriginal flag by members of the community that is independent from government, that involves and consults with Aboriginal people, and that ensures that the body selected bears responsibility for:

  • maintaining the integrity of the Aboriginal flag;
  • upholding the dignity of the Aboriginal flag; and
  • making decisions about the Aboriginal flag's use.
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