Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill? Give the right to others as well.


p2064-Steve-Brown-130By ERWIN CHLANDA
Alice Springs town councillor Steve Brown is combining his announcement to stand again in next month’s local government election with a call to allow the flying of the Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill on special days, so long as other ethnic groups are given the same right.
“The Irish should have the right on St Pats Day the French on Bastille Day and so on,” he says.
Mr Brown says: “There is a belief amongst some that the Aboriginal Flag represents a nation. It does not.
“There never was an Aboriginal nation rather quite literally hundreds of small ones.
p2462 ASTC Anzac Hill flaggs 400“Many of these don’t recognise what we know as the Aboriginal flag which in fact represents people by race not as a nation,” says Cr Brown who is currently on special leave to obtain medical treatment.
“Would that not then suggest that in a place where we seek to be equal if we fly a flag for one race? Wouldn’t it then mean we must fly a flag for all the other ethnic backgrounds who make up our nation?
“In my view such an occurrence would represent a dangerous disintegration of the Australian Nation.
“I have no issue with the flying of the Aboriginal flag anywhere else and possibly even next to the Australian flag on Anzac Hill on days that may be seen as being particularly signifigant to Aboriginal people such as Harmony day” with people from other nations getting the same privilege.


  1. It’s unfortunate that Cr Brown has such a narrow-minded view on this matter. Flying the Aboriginal flag on ANZAC Hill (Untyeyetwelye) demonstrates Central Australia’s recognition of First Nation peoples, promoting a strong sense of community reconciliation.
    Flying the flags is a highly visible symbol of respect and can be used to promote a sense of community, create a welcoming environment and can demonstrate a commitment towards closing the gap.
    ANZAC Hill, also known to many Traditional Owners as Untyeyetwelye was a place of strong cultural and spiritual significance for hundreds of years before Alice Springs was officially gazetted. Does Steve Brown have a personal issue with flying the Aboriginal flag?
    Yes, we as Aboriginal people all come from different Aboriginal nations, but the Aboriginal flag represents our distinct culture and identity as First Nation peoples as a collective.
    How is allowing the Aboriginal Flag to fly on ANZAC hill going to hurt anyone?
    We’d be happy to organise some cross-cultural awareness training for Cr Brown if he so desires.

  2. By “next to” I mean on the peripheries not at the Cenotaph where the flag that represents all of us, must be the only flag to fly.

  3. I have no issues with the flying of the Aboriginal flag in any location and think it would be wonderful if Chansey were to also arrange for every Aboriginal organisation to fly the Australian flag as an acknowledgement of the Aboriginal commitment to reconciliation.
    In Darwin all Aboriginal organisations that I have visited fly the Australian, Territory, Aboriginal and Torres Straight flags.
    Perhaps they are more reconciled in the Top End than we are!

  4. The so called “Australian” flag has a very foreign emblem dominating it and should be disqualified from being flown alongside the Territory and Aboriginal flags.

  5. Maybe custodians don’t want a flag on their sacred site. They may prefer the removal of the other flags, rather than further desecration of a sacred site.

  6. Let’s design a new flag to represent our ANZACs and hang that up there. Not any particular culture’s flag.
    That way it will stand for one thing and not a divide of cultures.
    I think everyone stiring up attention are more focused on getting their way or making trouble.
    Let’s be united and not divided.
    I wish we could talk with words like “us” and “we” more often and move on.

  7. Reading comments here and other forums I was starting to get pissed off, and felt like saying something I might regret.
    It seems so many people are stuck in the past, blaming those living now for what happened in the past.
    I can’t change the past, neither can any one else.
    What made me stop and contemplate was your words, us and we, none of us are going to leave this great country en mass. Surely the time is long past for everyone to move forward in a positive way?
    I won’t hold my breath though, all’s the pity.
    This country is just that, All of Us.

  8. So somehow your point of view is not narrow, but mine is?
    Everything you say, Chansey, can be considered in at least two ways: It is both my view and that of a large section of this community that flying separate flags symbolises division, segregation, not reconciliation.
    Flying one flag, for everybody, for all the races whose work, dedication, determination and energy has built this unique community, that flag and only that flag demonstrates a sense of a welcoming community for everyone who lives in it.
    It really is time that you stopped to think that there is actually more than one party, one race and one point of view involved when we are sending signals.
    And Chansey, whom you are also supposed to be representing.
    The community wide conversation however has made it pretty clear that there isn’t a lot of acceptance of the Aussie flag in its current design, by both Aboriginal and non Aboriginal peoples alike.
    In keeping with those views and in keeping with our country’s changing population, reconciliation and the slowly eventuating but inevitable move towards a republic, that we should initiate, right here from Alice Springs, a nation-wide discussion about redesigning our flag and hopefully with that our anthem into something we can all be comfortable with into the future.
    Happy to talk to you about that any time, Chansey.
    All that aside, let me tell you something about cross culture awareness.
    Cross culture means exchange or a two way flow of information, not disrespect for elders who outweigh you not only in years but by an enormous gulf when it comes to life experience and knowledge.

  9. I am not strong on flags as they can so easily be used in mindless hooliganism – witness Cronulla – but one must acknowledge that the Aboriginal flag has been accepted by most First Australians as “their” emblem. Let’s keep that in mind.
    In respect of Anzac Hill, it was an Arranta (note better spelling) site long before the word Anzac was created in 1914.
    So, if the Arranta people – not Chansey or Steve or Ted Egan or any other non-Arranta citizen of Alice Springs – want to have their flag on their hill, good on them.
    The Arranta people that I know all seem to support the Australian and NT flags as well as their own. But let’s hear from them on the total issue of flags in public places.
    Like all the other social issues in this town, let’s ask the Arranta people for a lead. I’ll bet that none of the kids who wrecked the cars at Kittles were of Arranta descent. How would they and their parents have been treated 100 years ago?
    The Greeks and the Irish and all other imports do not have a similar “right” to fly their flags in public places, but the First Australians were here first.

  10. A flag has four cantons. We could have in the top left the Aborigine flag: first nation.
    In the right corner the Union Jack: second nation.
    In the bottom two cantons the Southern Cross were we all live.

  11. It’s probably too late but here we go anyway. It’s about time that it is recognised that the Union Jack in the corner of our national flag does represent the Irish and Scots as well as the English, that’s why it’s called the Union jack or Flag.
    It incorporates the cross of St George (red for England), the cross of St Andrew (white on blue diagonal for Scotland) and the cross of St Patrick (red diagonal for Ireland). Since the Act of Union of course the Republic of Ireland has come into being so the Republicans wouldn’t recognise the Union Jack as representing them now.
    The Northern Unionists certainly do.
    A lot of Scots aren’t all that happy either but all of that is politics. Poor old Wales gets left out because it is officially a principality, part of the kingdom of England but not as far as Welsh nationalists are concerned.
    And since my name is an anglicised version of the Welsh apRhys I’d like to see the red lion in their somewhere, or maybe the cross of St David (yellow on black) should be in there as well especially if the Scots pull out of the Union eventually. But I’m not holding my breath. And then there’s the poor Cornish.
    St Piran’s cross is white on black). The last native speaker of Cornish died in the eighteenth century and their country was reduced to a mere county with a lot of it forming part of a Duchy. Then there’s the Isle of Man, a dependency of the crown and not part of the UK. So we could have a fight about all that while we’re at it.
    In my view the Aboriginal flag should be used to represent those Aboriginal people who died defending their own countries during the colonial invasion not those who fought for the whole country in other wars.
    But that’s only my view and I’m not Aboriginal and I’m not a veteran so I defer to the views of Aboriginal and other veterans. Let them work it out.

  12. All very well to want people to play nice and let go of the past but the wounds and atrocities don’t just disappear.
    There will always be a you and us mentality, that is the way of the world, to expect anything else is naive to say the least, but we can at least acknowledge, accept and respect cultural differences and be responsible and accountable for our own actions.
    What happened in the past has shaped who we are. We can’t dismiss it but I do agree we can’t live in the past, but we can sure learn from the past and that enables us to move forward.
    Let the traditional owners of the land have their flag flying high and prominent on Untyeyetwelye. It acknowledges them and reminds us we are a part of their land, not that they are a part of our land.


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