The Australian government has purchased the copyrights for the Aboriginal Flag for $20 million with the Flag now being able to be used freely.
Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt made the announcement on twitter today saying “@ScottMorrisonMP and I are proud to announce the transfer of the Aboriginal Flag copyright to the Commonwealth”. With the minister adding “In reaching this agreement, all Australians can now freely display and use the Aboriginal Flag to celebrate Indigenous culture”.
Harold Thomas created the Aboriginal Flag in 1970 with the design representing the Aboriginal culture. The yellow circle represents the sun while the red stands for the earth and the black for the Aboriginal People with Mr Thomas adding “I hope that this arrangement provides comfort to all Aboriginal people and Australians to use the Flag, unaltered, proudly and without restriction”.
According to the Australian government press release, Mr Thomas will “retain his moral rights over the flag” while adding that the Commonwealth has agreed to a list of requirements. They include that all future royalties be donated towards NAIDOC, a yearly $100,000 scholarship in Mr Thomas’s honour be established as well as online education about the Flag and a 50th anniversary painting of the Flag to be displayed in a prominent government location.
The decision has been met with mixed reactions with one user @edbaresau quick to point out the timing of the announcement.
“Don’t get me wrong, of course I’m happy about Aboriginal Flag being freed, but the Morrison government could have done this anytime in the last four years, seems odd to only happen by chance on the eve of Invasion Day, in an election year,” he said.
Journalist for the Sydney Morning Herald Georgina Robinson said on twitter to “put it [ the Aboriginal Flag] on the jerseys, stat. Get it in Eddie’s face in July. Put it everywhere”. This is in response to the AFL and NRL using the Flag on player uniforms when it did not have permission or were willing to pay the licence fee with the Flag originally granted rights for use to a clothing company.
An Australian Aboriginal Flag Legacy non-for-profit will be established by Mr Thomas with an investment of $2 million while he expressed that he’s “grateful that my art is appreciated by so many, and that it has come to represent something so powerful to so many”.