Aboriginal Flag Rally

Aboriginal flag at Parliament before it was taken down by police on Sorry Day, 13 Feb 2010








AT 12:30 PM









Ring –

Sam Watson 0401227443,

Adrian BurraGubba -email info@burragubba.com

Les Malezer Mob 041 9710 720 – email les.malezer@gmail.com


This rally is to uphold the importance of the aboriginal flag and to challenge the proposed amendments to the Qld constitution regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The proposed preamble does not properly acknowledge the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the State of Queensland:
`The people of Queensland, free and equal citizens of  Australia
honour the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples,
the First Australians, whose lands, winds and waters we all now
and pay tribute to their unique values and their ancient and
enduring cultures, which deepen and enrich the life of our

Why does the parliament presume that people are equal when there is one law for the rich and another for the poor, one for white another for black? And is it lawful for a Qld Police Officer to kill an Aborignal person?

The preamble is careful to prevent people from aceessing any rights or exact any justice when it states:

`The Parliament does not intend by the preamble to--
(a) create in any person any legal right or give rise to
    any civil cause of action;


Contact: Les Maelzer Mob 041 9710 720 email les.malezer@gmail.com

The Importance of the Aboriginal flag.

On the anniversary of Sorry Day 13 February 2010 Queensland police took down the Aboriginal flag that is usually hung on the fence of parliament during such rallies.

Sam Watson spoke of the significance of the Aboriginal flag after this action by police. Sam Watson’s speech begins [at 1.02 mins on the dial of the MP3 player below] shortly after a murri brother summed up people’s opposition to the NT Intervention.

Amendments to the Qld Constitution.

The proposed amendments to the Qld constitution are similar to the preamble to the State of Victoria’s constitution but fail to properly acknowledge the contribution of Aborignal & Torres Strait Islander people to the State of Queensland.

3 thoughts on “Aboriginal Flag Rally

  1. Support Les Malezer's letter to Speaker of Parliament about Aboriginal Flag says:

    Hon. R John Mickel MLA, MLitSt, BA, BEdSt, DipTchg
    Queensland Parliament
    Parliament House
    George Street
    Brisbane, Q, 4000

    Email: logan@parliament.qld.gov.au

    Dear Mr Speaker

    I am writing to you in response to the incident on 13 February 2010, when the Queensland Police were instructed to remove the Aboriginal flag from the outside of the Parliament fence.

    This letter is authorised by the organisers of the protest rally held on 13 February 2010 at Parliament House. You should be aware that this peaceful rally was organised as part of the National Day of Action held around Australia to oppose racism by governments in Australia.

    A request had been made to the security staff at the Parliament House, at the time of the incident, to contact you for your approval for the flag to remain on the fence during our rally that morning. Apparently you did not give your approval and the police were given their instructions to act. This led to a confrontation, when the police hesitated and called for backup.

    Your decision was a great disappointment and reversed the more cooperative position taken by the previous Speaker of the Parliament. The participants at the rally expressed strong disapproval and calls were made for the Aboriginal flags to be removed from the Parliament House.

    However it has been decided instead that a ‘flag rally’ be held at the Parliament House and the Aboriginal flag be formally presented to you in a spirit of partnership and goodwill. We will ask you to adopt a better understanding of our position and desire to have our rights recognised.

    We have set this occasion for Tuesday, 23 February 2010. The rally will commence at 12.30 pm, in front of the Parliament House and a march to the entrance will occur at 1.15 pm.

    We request that you greet us at the entrance and invite the delegation of flag bearers to carry the official Aboriginal flag into Parliament House and place it at an honoured place inside the building. The delegation will then present a statement on the purpose and importance of the flag, and the relationship that it represents in its place in the Parliament House.

    We intend this to be a ‘public’ ceremony and request that our delegation and media be allowed to participate as indicated. Following the ceremony the delegation of flag bearers will proceed through Parliament House and exit via the Parliamentary Annex gates.

    We have chosen this date for the occasion because it is proposed to be the date for the second reading of the Bill to amend the Preamble of the Queensland Constitution to recognise the Aboriginal Peoples and the Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Peoples.

    We are hopeful that you will take care to avoid any future clashes over the use of the Aboriginal flag and the conduct of our protests at Parliament House.

    We are happy to discuss the arrangements with you to have a cooperative ceremony. Please contact me on my mobile – 0419 710 720 – or by email if you would like to have further discussions.

    Les Malezer
    Chairman, FAIRA
    And on behalf of the Flag Protest group

  2. 'Land Rights Flag' says:

    Speaker of QLD Parliament Mike Reynolds 'signs' sorry day mapPhoto: Former Speaker of QLD Parliament, Mike Reynolds, ‘signs’ Sorry Day painting on 13 Feb 2008 at Jagera Hall, Musgrave Park.

    When Sam Watson raised the issue of the flag at the rally on Sorry Day 13 Feb 2010 he acknowledged that Uncle Harold Thomas, from the Luritja people of Central Australia, was the original creator of the land rights flag. Uncle Harold designed the flag in the early 1970s as part of a national movement for aboriginal land rights.
    Uncle Harold’s claim was recognised by the federal court of Australia after the Australian government declared the aboriginal flag to be ‘a flag of Australia’ in 1995.
    When the police took down the land rights flag for the first time on Sorry Day 13 Feb 2010 they were enforcing an inane regulation and expressing their opposition to Aboriginal people who have pressed the police force over the murder of Cameron Doomadgee by Sgt Hurley. When the speaker of the parliament insisted that the flag be taken down he was opposing the growing extra-parliamentary opposition by Aboriginal people and their supporters.

    “It has been long-established practice that nothing is allowed to be hung on or attached to the fence of Parliament House. This includes flags of any kind.
    I have no intention of changing this rule. It applies irrespective of which group may be demonstrating at the Parliament. The rule is a simple one and easily understood by all concerned. There is no need for any meeting to discuss how it applies.”

    Les Malezer (FAIRA) who spoke on these issues at the rally replied to the Speaker’s letter:

    Our flag is the symbol of the sovereignty of Aboriginal Peoples over our lands. Attempts by police or any others to forcefully take possession of the Aboriginal flag can be seen as a hostile act against our peoples and can invoke a response or confrontation. It may be that you were not aware of this sensitivity when you ordered in the police. The relationship between the Aboriginal flag and the Parliament is extremely significant because it is symbolic of unsettled business. Our defence of our flag has been clearly demonstrated at the sites of Parliaments around Australia on many historical occasions.
    You refer to the Aboriginal flag as the ‘Aboriginal Australian’ flag. Please note our flag will not be regarded by us as an Australian flag unless and until a treaty is signed with the Aboriginal Peoples. The Queensland Parliament may have chosen to fly the flag at Parliament House but that decision alone does not lead to the lawful acquisition of our sovereignty or remedy the injustices against us. It is the Aboriginal Peoples’ flag. We carry the flag to assert our human rights, inherent rights and legitimate rights as the First Peoples of Australia.
    The steps taken by security staff, the police and you, as Speaker, on 13 February 2010 were discourteous and unnecessary. No threat or offensive situation existed until the police confrontation. Given the situation, our placement of the flag on the fence could have and should have been ignored. The ‘rules’ that you cite could have been relaxed without consequences and are so puny that for us, defenders of human rights, the application of police force only stands as an exercise of power over the rally and its participants.
    Our Aboriginal Flag Rally is not only about the importance of the Aboriginal flag in our struggle for our rights. The proposed amendment by the Queensland Parliament of the Queensland Constitution, to acknowledge our existence and identity as the First Peoples in Australia, is also a disguised and intentional step to deny and prevent our lawful rights in our own country and to obliterate the need to remedy the injustices against us. We want to call upon the Parliament to accept the legal responsibilites that arise towards the Indigenous Peoples.

    See http://bushtelegraph.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/les-melzer-reply-to-speaker-of-parliament.pdf
    When people carry the aboriginal ‘flag’ at the rally outside parliament on Tuesday 23 Feb 2010 it is a banner which is a symbol of land rights claims that have been made by aborignal people since colonisation.
    No company, no organisation, no government should seek to exploit [for commercial profit or for political opportunism] the aborignal flag because it arose out of the struggle of the aboriginal people for land that was stolen by successive colonial governments.
    Ian CurrFeb 2010

  3. Les Malezer says:

    [Aboriginal News]

    Tuesday, 23 March 2010
    What is so important about a flag?

    Today, at lunchtime, we will rally in front of the Queensland Paliament in George Street, Brisbane, to promote respect for the Aboriginal flag. We are hoping for large numbers of supporters with a great display of flag-waving to get attention.

    After speeches at the rally a delegation of flag bearers will walk to Parliament House to present a petition to the Speaker of the Parliament. The petition will call for parliament to respect the real meaning and importance of the Aboriginal flag.

    We know the Aboriginal flag, along with the Torres Strait Islander flag, already flies on the flagpoles of the Queensland Parliament House and that our flags also have a respected place inside the legislative assembly.
    So why is a rally and petition needed?

    And why on the same day the Parliament is to have the ‘second reading’ of the constitution amendment Bill, amendments to acknowledge Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people in Australia?
    What is going on?

    Our concern is that the meaning of the Aboriginal flag is not understood, and the flag is being disrespected by government and a large section of Australian society. And Aboriginal people, like the flag, are being disrespected.

    The Aboriginal flag was first flown in the early 1970s and became prominent at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy set up in front of the (then) Parliament House. The Aboriginal Tent Embassy challenged of the authority of the Australian nation and reminded the Australian public that the sovereignty of the Aboriginal people has never been ceded. Time and time again since the 1970s the Aboriginal people have told the government that only an agreed treaty can settle the dispute over the land, the resources and all rights of the first peoples.

    The designer of the flag, Harold Thomas, designed the flag to symbolise the Aboriginal people, Aboriginal land and the spiritual relationship between the people and the land. He has copyright over the design but wants the Aboriginal people to use the flag for the fight for rights and recognition.

    The Australian Government made the Aboriginal flag an official flag of Australia in 1995. Now many government buildings, including State, Territory and local government buildings, and many schools and other civic buildings, have agreed to fly the Aboriginal flag in recognition of the Aboriginal peoples.

    However it seems that time has dimmed the significance of the message of the flag in their memory. Too many people now believe that flying the Aboriginal flag, or acknowledging the traditional owners on official occasions, or using the colours of the Aboriginal flag represents a settlement with the Aboriginal people. To them, this is reconciliation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Over recent years there has been a rise in racism against the Aboriginal people. There are a number of laws now in effect at the national and State levels which are deliberately intended to target the Aboriginal population. The demise of ATSIC has led to uninhibited aggression against the Indigenous identity in Australia. The governments that fly the flag are most likely disrespecting the Aboriginal people in the political processes of parliament and the condescending approach to ‘protection’ laws, and the disrespect extends to the Aboriginal flag hanging in their halls when they make laws which discriminate against the Aboriginal people.
    It is now a time when the Aboriginal flag must fly high as the symbol of the Aboriginal people’s fight for inherent and sovereign rights.

    In Australia various authorities seem to believe that possession of the Aboriginal flag gives to them powers and controls over the Aboriginal people. Instead of seeking the cooperation and consent of the Aboriginal people when determining Indigenous policies the governments have decided to roll up the sleeve and thrash the Indigenous people into submission to Australian values.

    Contemporary policies of the governments regard the Aboriginal people only as ‘individuals’, destined to be assimilated into the western society of white Australia. The policies no longer tolerate the cultural identity and distinction of our people, and demand that our youth go into white schooling systems for intensive training into white lives. The policies refuse to accede to ‘Land Rights’, that strong movement of the 70s that demanded governments and mining companies to either pay royalties or pay the rent to the Aboriginal people. Now, instead, the governments set out to enforce welfare policies and micro-economic controls over Aboriginal families and communities, with absolutely no regard for the aspirations, intentions or decision of the people themselves.

    The governments now call us by only one term – Indigenous Australians. They treat us as individuals and demand that we follow the ever-increasing laws aimed at attacking our culture and our institutions. These are mind-altering policies, forcing Aboriginal peoples to think only in terms of ‘taking their place’ as Australians, rather than being Aboriginal people as we have always been.

    The governments increasingly talk of the ‘rule of law’ and, with this mantra, insist that the Aboriginal people follow the government decisions, decisions which are ultimately made in white institutions, enforced by white authorities to meet white aspirations for the future.

    The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted two years ago and it screams out a different message for the governments of Australia. The Declaration, a charter for decolonisation, fifty years overdue, and now backed by an overwhelming majority of governments in the world, is framed on one core principle – the identity of Indigenous Peoples as ‘peoples’. The entire Declaration confirms the legitimacy of our status of Indigenous Peoples, a complete society with collective ownership of our territories, our resources, and with the right to maintain our distinct cultural characteristics. It is a confirmation of sovereignty of the Aboriginal people, protecting the right of the Aboriginal people to stand up to government and to say ‘no’ when ‘no’ is needed.

    The Declaration affirms that we, as Indigenous Peoples, have the right to choose our political status, and the right to self-government or other forms of autonomy as determined by us. The Declaration affirms that we have the right to development as peoples, including economic development, political development, cultural development and social development without being tied to the policies being forced upon us by the colonising government.

    The Declaration affirms that we have the right to maintain and develop our own institutions for decision-making, and for delivering services to our people. It affirms that our laws, the Aboriginal laws, are not inferior to or able to be simply oppressed by alien parliaments and their legal systems.

    The Declaration backs our right to hold up our flag, like the flag of any other nation, and to assert a sovereign right of our people to make our own decisions. It is a flag waiting to be waved in demand for justice and for restitution of our wealth, property and resources.

    Last year the Australian Government expressed its support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but this policy position has not reached the Queensland Government. The Queensland Government is so rabid against the rights of Indigenous Peoples that it is increasing policing of our communities with a police force completely unaccountable for its brutality against us, it is increasing our imprisonment to the most extraordinary levels, it is taking more of our children than ever before and it is causing and willing the destruction of our families.

    As we live and breathe today the Queensland Government is using its legislative powers to try to extinguish our identity as peoples and our legitimate rights as the first peoples. The government on this very day refuses to recognise our ownership of our lands and our resources. The government is forcing through legislation to change the Queensland constitution to ensure that we will never, ever, ever see our rights as Aboriginal people in this country. The proposed amendments are as crooked as the colonial powers which trampled on us one hundred and fifty years ago.

    The constitutional amendments will lock the legal doors for Aboriginal people wanting justice under Queensland laws. And while our rights are being buried by the parliament the government still refuses to pay us for the extraction of mineral resources or the production of primary produce from the lands. The government refuses to recognise our right to development in our own lands using our own natural resources.

    When the police moved in a week ago to grab the Aboriginal flag, the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament considered that the police were doing no more than enforcing ‘the rule’ that no banners be tied to the fence of Parliament House. That is all the Speaker can see of this situation. He does not understand the importance of the flag, and he does not care that the flag was not causing any harm to the fence or the parliament. He only saw the rules – as if it were ‘a law that exists for the protection of the people’.

    The Speaker was unable to see the concerns of the demonstrators that the government is prejudiced in the application of its laws. He was unable to hear the outcries that the parliament was not representative of the Aboriginal people. He was not able to comprehend that a racist State, like Queensland, does not deserve respect from the people who are the victims of that very racism and the institution that breeds racism.

    The Speaker did not believe in the right of people to take political action for their rights, and he certainly did not believe that the Parliament House should be a forum for the political voice of the Aboriginal people. He could not accept that the fence around Parliament House provided a backdrop and a prop for protest action. He probably does not understand the democratic will of the people can have application to Aboriginal people too.

    The red, black and yellow of the Aboriginal flag is the heartbeat of the Aboriginal people. The police surge for the flag is nothing less than a rush at the people and their rights, just as it was thirty years ago when protesters defended time and time again the Aboriginal tent embassy against the police onslaught. Had the Speaker decided to not call upon police to remove the flag, no issue would have emerged. No negative consequences would have arisen. No blight upon the fence would have been unleashed. Peace and calm would have returned when the protesters left.

    The Speaker must have had blood in his eyes and he must have wanted very much to dominate and hurt the movement at the gates of Parliament House for Aboriginal rights.


    tuesday, 23 march 2010


    (some flags will be available at the rally)

    Parliament House George Street, Brisbane 12.30 pm to 1.45 pm
    Speakers will include:

    Sam WATSON
    and others

    Sign the petition calling for respect for the Aboriginal flag

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