Discussions around the Aboriginal flag and it's ownership have reached the tipping point, and as a Aboriginal designer that has working across the design and creative sectors the for past 34 years I need to add my five cents worth. In no way am I a specialist in copyright, but as a designer I have copyright agreements in place with organisations and business here in Australia including the Royal Australia Mint, News Limited, Foxtel and the list goes on which bind and secure the use of my intellectual property from unlawful use.
At the start of my career, one of the most import things that I learnt as a working at Aboriginal Hostels in Canberra was the unique colour palette used in the flag and how important to use these correctly and with respect, and have watched these colours drap the coffins of my Nanas, Pops, cousins, uncles and friends and no doubt one day mine will be drapped in these same colours.
While these colours are a representation of identity and pride for me I question the colonial and phallic representation that all flags have.
The question that I would put to you all is a flag nothing more than a colonial phallic symbol, pushed into the soil of our ancestors in 1770 with total disregard to the ownership of these lands and our people. We need to also decolonize our thoughts around flags themselves.
Many statement have been said that the Aboriginal flag is the only flag in the world that is copyright, for my research this statement is incorrect with the Maori flag copyright being held under trust.
There would be no benefit to wading into the waters of WAM Clothing or for that matter Clothing the Gap. But what I will say is that although many non-Indigenous business and Indigenous business have been prohibited from displaying the flag on their merchandise, I have to say that in Far North Queensland all not-for-profit organisations are still displaying the flag on their merchandise without little effect of infringement on the flags copyright.
The key discussion to ownership of the flag .
Over the past few months I have watched as our flag get toss around by many.
Now people around the country are discussing that their should be a compulsory acquisition of the Aboriginal flag.