Call for Scott Morrison to Buy Aboriginal Flag

Indigenous advocate and former politician Warren Mundine called on the federal government to purchase the Aboriginal flag’s copyright after this week’s rejection of its use for the AFL Indigenous.

Talking to 2 GB on Thursday, Mr Mundine said the flag would be handled like Anzac, where a copyright is in effect and anyone wishing to use the symbol will go through the RSL and the Federal Government.

“I think the Government buying it, we could resolve a whole lot of problems,” he said.

The copyright of the flag is owned by its designer, Harold Thomas, who created the Adelaide flag in 1971.

He has given licences to Flagworld Pty Ltd for the use of the flag design in manufacturing and marketing, and to WAM Clothing for the use of the apparel design that earned Mr Thomas $20,000 and royalties for a 10-year term.

WAM Clothing belongs to two men, one of whom was the owner of Birubi Art, the former clothing license holder who was liquidated after it was found to deceive buyers about the quality of the Aboriginal art it sold.

The company sent letters to Aboriginal apparel companies, the AFL and NRL to cease and desist, and the AFL was refused permission to use the flag in the Indigenous Round this weekend, causing controversy across the nation.

The online petition calling for the logo licencing arrangement to be modified has more than 107,000 signatures, while on Wednesday Aboriginal artist Briggs asked his Twitter followers how he could go about purchasing the flag to ensure it could be used openly.

“I’d like to buy the Aboriginal flag from WAM Clothing,” he wrote.

“I wonder what their price is? Who can help me out?”

Mr. Mundine, who is the former head of the Indigenous Advisory Council, rightly acknowledged that Mr. Thomas owned the copyright but said there was no reason not to negotiate a deal that would satisfy everyone.

“Let’s approach Scott Morrison, we can have a chat with him and Ken Wyatt, say ‘Let’s sort this out’, sit down with WAM, sit down with Harold Thomas, and everyone can walk away happy,” he said.

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