The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA (ALSWA) supports moves by WA Premier Colin Barnett to issue a directive to the Carnarvon Shire to fly the Aboriginal flag during NAIDOC Week after the council refused to do so.
“Approximately one in five people in Carnarvon are Aboriginal, local Yamatji people, for whom this Country has been home for thousands of years. NAIDOC Week is a week like no other for our people. It is a celebration of our Culture and our survival and a wonderful uniting showcase for our rich culture and achievements that we have shared over many years” said ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington.
With Reconciliation Week coming to a close tomorrow, ALSWA is hopeful that the Carnarvon Shire will back down from its decision and fly the flag during NAIDOC Week, which is supported not only by Aboriginal people, but all fair-minded Australians.
“The simple gesture of flying the Aboriginal flag can promote so much pride, unity and goodwill into the community, which has positive benefits for all. It is an inclusive act, not a divisive one and many councils Australia wide fly our flag every day of every year”.
ALSWA has received numerous calls from community members, many of whom feel extremely hurt and marginalised by the decision. “I am dismayed at the view of the Shire President and members and find the whole scenario quite unbelievable in 2016. Our own organisation has played a major role in this region through providing legal services within the Murchison Gascoyne for over thirty years. We’re also ratepayers in Carnarvon, having set up a local office there back in the 1990’s, so this is very important to us on many levels”.
“We know that Shire President Karl Brandenburg is on the record as saying that “…the Council is very mindful of the importance and symbolic significance of the Aboriginal Flag” and that “further consideration to the request for flying the flag prior to NAIDOC Week commencing” will be given. But the fact that this matter has been so upsetting to so many people, we urge Mr. Brandenburg to show real leadership and reverse the shire’s decision now, instead of leaving Carnarvon residents uneasy in their wait for the council’s next ordinary meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday 28th of June, just days before NAIDOC commemorations and celebrations commence around the nation”.
ALSWA Media Enquiries to ALSWA Media Officer Jodi Hoffmann on 0428 948 610