The Aboriginal Flag will permanently fly on the Sydney Harbour Bridge if Labor is elected to government in March 2019. Currently, the Aboriginal flag flies on top of the Australian icon for only 15 days of the year, on occasions such as Australia Day and during NAIDOC week and Reconciliation Week.
State Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen, has welcomed NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley’s vow to fly the Aboriginal Flag permanently alongside the Australian and New South Wales flags on the Bridge.
A young Aboriginal woman, Cheree Toka, has been campaigning for the last twelve months to have the flag raised permanently on the Bridge, and currently has collected over 77 000 signatures on a change.org petition.
Designed by Aboriginal artist Harold Thomas in 1971, it was originally intended for the land rights movement when it became a symbol for Indigenous Australians. It became an official flag of Australia in 1995.
It is now flown prominently right across Australia at public buildings, schools and at community events and should also have a permanent place on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Aboriginal flag flies proudly alongside the Australian flag on many public buildings in the Inner West, including Marrickville Town Hall. The Inner West Council has a long-standing policy of acknowledging the traditional owners of our land with this important gesture.
The vow to fly the Aboriginal flag follows Mr Foley’s recent commitment to establish a Treaty process, in the event Labor forms a government in 2019, between the government of New South Wales and the State’s Aboriginal peoples.
Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley
“A government led by me will do this in order to recognise and celebrate every day the history and culture of the First Australians.
“The Aboriginal Flag is an officially proclaimed Australian flag and it will permanently fly alongside the National Flag and the State Flag at the top of Sydney’s most recognisable landmark.
“We should all be proud of 60 000 years of indigenous history here.
“Flying the Aboriginal Flag on the great arch that defines Sydney around the world is an appropriate expression of that pride.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs David Harris
“It is proper that one of our State's most recognised structures should carry the Aboriginal flag signifying the spirit of reconciliation every day of the year.
“Flying the flag is a sign of respect and can help foster a greater sense of community.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen
“I think most Sydney-siders would be shocked to know the Aboriginal flag doesn’t fly on the Harbour Bridge each and every day.
“Symbols matter and flying the Aboriginal Flag from one of our cities most prominent landmarks provides a symbol of recognition of and acknowledgement to the First People of Australia.
“It’ll be great to see the Aboriginal Flag flying high and proud from the Harbour Bridge, much like it has been over Marrickville and Ashfield Town Hall’s and other parts of the Inner West for some time.
“I’m also proud that Labor has committed to pursuing a treaty with first peoples in our State and to returning Garden Island to indigenous ownership. These policies will make a real difference to the lives of indigenous Australians and go a long way to delivering reconciliation and acknowledgement.