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Or get a new flag.

I’m not that keen for my taxes to be used to fix up this mess.

As pointed out above, it is a bit sketchy to make a distinction between commercial rights and not-for-profit purposes because a lot of people will not be making their own garments or other items that are adorned with the flag or actual flags. So to a large extent, the fact that the flag is encumbered affects financially everyone who uses the flag, regardless of the purpose.


To me this does not follow. How does a non-commercial purpose, such as flying the flag, financially affect the person who flies it? It seems to me it is the reverse, if few people are making goods adorned with the flag then few people are affected because only they need to pay for the use of the image.

We seem to have strayed a long way from the instigation of this furore which was a maker of goods who used the flag on those goods and didn’t want to pay for the privilege and complained when they got a cease and desist notice.

I note that in the two months since this kicked off there has not been a strong movement by leaders, aboriginal or otherwise, to take up the cause and it has apparently sunk back to oblivion as you might expect if it was a minor commercial dispute rather than a major issue of principle. For the majority of users of the flag all this doesn’t actually matter.


Because to fly a flag, you have to be in possession of one. To be in possession of one, you either have to make your own, or buy one.

A small minority will make their own, I suggest. (If you have the skills, the equipment and the time, go for it.) The majority will buy one and hence be financially affected by the copyright status.


Thomas has said he gave exclusive rights to one company to create actual flags and another (WAM) to use the image on garments. We see the flag all over the place and I don’t see any complaints about the price. If the price of the flag really is an encumbrance the aboriginal people don’t seem to mention it.

Even if the flag is more expensive because of the ownership of the rights is that wrong?

But this is getting further away from the point of this dispute. This case wasn’t about the flying of the flag it was about using it on garments and specifically between WAM and another company who was not licensed by Thomas.


(It is my assumption that the flag is more expensive than it otherwise would be because of the ownership. A licensing contract would presumably not exist if there were no money to be made.)

It is not wrong for the owner to want to profit from and indeed to profit from being the owner.

It is wrong, in my opinion, for an official flag of Australia to be in private ownership. This status as an official flag of Australia is one of the reasons you “see the flag all over the place”. That is funded by me :slight_smile: and I am complaining about the price.


Where do you see the aboriginal flag flown? I am aware of a few places, but the place I see it most is online - where it is being used to show that an entity is based in the aboriginal community and/or supports the aboriginal community.

So you want the Australian government to expropriate private property without compensation? There’s a clause in the constitution that specifically forbids that, for good reason.

In hindsight, maybe there should have been a competition to choose the Aboriginal Flag, and the winner would cede rights into the public domain in exchange for a prize (monetary, presumably). That didn’t happen, and wishing it did happen will not change the situation. The owner of the intellectual property is well within his rights to licence that property; while taxpayers or a philanthropist could have stepped forward to place the flag into the public domain (or limited public domain to prevent misuse), for the moment those licences are controlled by commercial operations that presumably offered more to the IP holder than any other bidders.

I am not arguing the merits of whether the rights should not be in private ownership; I am merely pointing out that since that is not the case there are only a few ways to change it - and you have already ruled out the obvious one, of taxpayers paying for those rights.


No. I am aware that it is likely to be unconstitutional to do so and nor did I suggest or imply that course of action.

A couple of courses of action that are legally OK and available without the benefit of hindsight

  • a private entity or group of individuals buys out the owner in order to put the design into the public domain
  • amend the legislation to avoid this problem in the future
  • strip the flag of its official status (I think this is legally OK)


We often see it flown…especially at government (local, state and commonwealth) offices, schools and such like. Wven openings to things where they have a welcome to land address, the flag us often also flying or shown.


It appears that the issue of the Aboriginal flag copyright is not done and dusted just yet.


Linda Burney may be well intentioned but she doesn’t always have the most practical approach to problem solving. Let us see what Mr Thomas and WAM work out before getting too excited.


Another article regarding the EU demanding Australian producers stop using names that use European “geographical indicators”.

The Australian producers are struggling to come up with alternative names but I will try to help them out.

“Clean & Green”.

“True Blue”.

“Dinky Di”.

“Safe To Eat”

Ridgey Didge".

“EU Pollution Free”.


Seriously? I realise that the EU demands are a little annoying, but manufacturers change labels and product names regularly!


More a free trade issue?

With the EU noted for playing games with subsidies that deliver products into Australia at substantial discounts to local production, does it matter what the trade name of their agricultural products are?

Providing the most prominent mark on the produce is “Product of Europe” I’ll know which products to avoid.


Mu understanding is that they are not referring to the cost of changing the labels but on their expected loss of sales when existing customers no longer recognise their products and new customers avoid them as they do not associate them with being the same, or better, than the EU products but with a different name…


Why not just use some smarts in the labeling and marketing.

“Great Australian …XYZ… Sparkling Wine” - 9 out of 10 Australian’s agree more sparkle than the
Champagne region of France.

I’m sure there are ways to relate what the Aussie versions of European products are and how good they are.

Or am I being too silly?


Couldn’t they add something like “Similar to the “xxxx” variety of xyz product from xyz region” or “Made similar to the xyz variety”.


We already have ‘made by the champagne method’, or ‘methode champenoise’ , or ‘bottle fermented’.


Getting a bit ridiculous and a bit annoying.

How about the Australian government proposes to ban all the disputed geographical names? Level playing field. Every producer is going to have to change the name of the product - and lose the product recognition in the process.


Australia has its own, one which has been contested in the past is the Coonawarra wine region. There have been wineries just outside the edge of the mapped wine region which have had action taken against them for use of the name Coonawarra because they are not within the Coonawarra region The region is very protective of its terrior, thus vineyards outside the region can’t claim to be from the Coonawarra.

What the EU proposes is no different to which has occurred in Australia.

Australia in the past has overcome any changes in name usage…often to the benefit of Australian products as one then can easily determine the Aussie product when compared to the foreign/imported product.


It was more a case of proposing it in order to stop the EU from being so ridiculous - and the EU is disputing names like fetta, so those are disputed by the EU whereas Coonawarra is not disputed by the EU.

If the EU succeeds in this, can I send them the bill for reprinting and repurchasing all cookbooks that reference disputed ingredients?