The Australian Greens are concerned at the amount of community distress and harm caused by the licensing arrangements currently in place over the Aboriginal flag, particularly as the licenses are held, and are being profited from, by non-Aboriginal people.
We support the recommendations in the committee's majority report, and in the Chair's additional comments.
In line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Australian Greens affirm the rights to self‑determination by all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We support the committee's view that an independent Aboriginal body be created for the custodianship over the Aboriginal flag and to make decisions about its use.
The Australian Greens believe that to uphold the rights to self-determination for Aboriginal people enshrined in the UNDRIP, the proposed independent Aboriginal body needs to meaningfully include and engage a broad representation of grassroots Aboriginal community members and voices.
We believe that it's important for the proposed independent Aboriginal body to also make decisions regarding any commercial uses of the Aboriginal flag, and for any fees collected within any future licencing arrangements to be directed in the way that body chooses, for the benefit of Aboriginal people and communities.
The Australian Greens acknowledge the cultural authority of the Torres Strait Island Regional Council (TSIRC) and their leadership in ensuring that the Torres Strait Islander flag is used in accordance with their community's wishes and cultural protocols.
In evidence, the TSIRC advised the committee that their limited funding can restrict what actions they can take when there are instances of misuse of the Torres Strait Islander flag.
Until such a time that the TSIRC can make that request to this independent body, if that is in fact their wish, the TSIRC should be properly resourced to ensure that the Torres Strait Islander flag is used in accordance with their community's wishes and in line with all relevant cultural protocols.
That the Torres Strait Island Regional Council receives sufficient public funding and resourcing to ensure the Torres Strait Islander flag is used in accordance with the Council's requirements.