Inner West Independent

Push to preference Aboriginal flag over Australian fails in Sydney council

Aboriginal flag

An unsuccessful amendment to a motion at an Inner West Council meeting called for the Aboriginal flag to take precedence over the state and Australian flag on council buildings. Photo: YouTube.


An amendment to an Inner West Council motion calling on the Aboriginal flag to take precedence over the NSW and Australian flags on council buildings was defeated this month.

The original motion, which was moved by mayor Darcy Byrne in a mayoral minute, called on council to assemble a public forum on the Uluru Statement from the Heart, congratulate Cheree Toka on her campaign to have the Aboriginal flag fly permanently over the Harbour Bridge and implore the NSW government to immediately implement this, and to adopt new protocols for flag-raising on council buildings, whereby the Aboriginal flag would take precedence over the state flag.

An amendment to the motion by Greens councillor Dylan Griffiths asked that the Aboriginal flag be given precedence over both the NSW and Australian flags, which was defeated behind the opposition of all Labor and independent candidates.

Dylan Griffiths. Photo: Facebook.

“All in all, I supported the mayor’s motion and I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Cr Griffiths told City Hub.

“I would have liked to have seen council being clear that the Aboriginal flag should be of the highest priority of all our flags, not just the New South Wales flag.”

Visibility of Aboriginal flag ‘important piece of the puzzle’: Greens councillor

While discussing the amendment, Cr Byrne didn’t believe there were “instances of there being a single flagpole in which the Australian flag flies and the Aboriginal flag is not able to” in the Inner West, to which council General Manager Peter Gainsford said that there were none he was aware of.

“On that basis and given that this will be subject to further review, I won’t accept the amendment. I thank councillor Griffiths very much for the fine sentiments that he has made and I think we are all in agreement about how important this issue is,” Cr Byrne said. 

While speaking to City Hub, Greens councillor Kobi Shetty, who seconded the amendment, said that the visibility of the Aboriginal flag in the Inner West was “an important piece of the puzzle”. 

“I think it’s important that people can look and see their flag being flown and to think that they belong somewhere and that other people who aren’t from that group appreciate that they have a place in our society, so it’s certainly not the most important thing, but I still think it’s something that’s important.” 

The original motion was carried unanimously. 

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