The Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Flags Are Finally On Display During PM Pressers
Both flags have been recognised as national flags since 1995 but have never been on display in the Blue Room until now.
Just hours after being sworn in as Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has used his first press conference to make a historic change.
Before Albanese took to the stage to deliver his first press conference as PM, an Aboriginal flag and a Torres Strait Islander flag were hung alongside the Australian flag behind the podium.
This is the first time the two flags — which represent First Nations people — have been mounted in the Blue Room, where parliamentary press conferences take place.
Albanese did not make a point to verbally acknowledge the additional flags in his opening press conference but did reference his plans to move forward with the Uluru Statement. However, it’s worth noting that the ALP’s support of the Uluru Statement has been criticised by many First Nations people — including Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe — who have repeatedly stressed that a treaty must come first.
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The move to include both flags in the Blue Room comes two years after the Liberal Party voted down a Labor motion to have both flags permanently hung in the Senate.
At the time, the Morrison Government and a number of crossbenchers argued that only the national flag (see: the Australian flag, which is deeply rooted in colonisation) would be “appropriate” for the Senate. This is despite the fact that both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have been recognised as official flags of Australia since 1995 under the Flags Act 1953.
While the move to hang both flags in the Blue Room is a step in the right direction, we must ensure that an Albanese Government actually listens to First Nations’ voices when it comes to the Uluru Statement and every other important issue over the course of its time in office.
Despite significant pressure, the Australian Government has never negotiated a treaty with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.