Aboriginal flag to fly year round on Anzac Hill


Above: The Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill in during NAIDOC week in July 2018. Photo from our archive. 

This report replaces last night’s brief mention.
The Town Council  last night voted unanimously to have the Aboriginal flag  fly year round on Anzac Hill.
The exception will be Anzac Day, when the New Zealand flag will fly alongside the Australian flag.
Cr Satour has led the push during this term of council for the flag to fly on Anzac Hill.
Last year she was able to win council support for it to be flown on days of significance to Aboriginal people (National Sorry Day, National Reconciliation week and NAIDOC week). Following the flag-raising during NAIDOC week this year momentum has built in the community for the flag to fly year round.
Cr Satour’s original motion included the exceptions of Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. Having looked into it  further, she proposed amendments last night to remove those stated exceptions, leaving in reference only to the national flag protocols.
The protocols, according to Cr Jimmy Cocking, do not go to these exceptions. Lowering the flag on Anzac Day to make way for the NZ flag respects widespread practice. The only practice for Remembrance Day is that all flags go to half mast, he said.
In a second part to her motion Cr Satour asked for a report to come to council about flying the Torres Strait Islands (TSI) flag on the hill, as well as a report on council’s policy for flying flags at the Civic Centre (the relevance of this became clear later).
In a curious attempt to wrest initiative on the issue, Mayor Damien Ryan proposed an addendum to her amended motion, that the TSI flag also be allowed to fly on the hill forthwith.
Both he and Cr Jamie de Brenni said that many people in the community had spoken to them about having the TSI flag on the hill as well.
Mayor Ryan said that it would start the “journey to reconciliation”.
Cr de Brenni said he thought the community would embrace the move and didn’t think there would be any complaints.
Cr Satour (at left, speaking to her motion) suggested that he did not know that.
He replied that he hoped there wouldn’t be, as they’re “First Nations “ too.
However, the First Nations woman sitting across the chamber, Cr Satour, quietly insisted on her motion being to put to the vote as is.
Local Aboriginal people, and specifically the custodians of Mparntwe, have waited a long time – 20 years – for this gesture of respect. There would be time for considering whether to extend it to the TSI flag, or how to do that meaningfully.
As Cr Eli Melky pointed out, the Aboriginal flag flies at the Civic Centre without the TSI flag, and while there have been multiple opportunities to discuss flying the Aboriginal flag from Anzac Hill, there has been no consultation around flying the TSI flag there.
The chairing of the meeting got messy at this point, interrupted for the second time in the evening  by a tussle with local resident Eden Baxter over him taking photographs and video-recording the meeting. Although Mr Baxter, who has a radio show on 8CCC, has done as much on numerous occasions, this has lately become a source of irritation for the Mayor.
A show of hands indicated that the Mayor’s addendum would fail, with only him, Cr de Brenni and Cr Glen Auricht in favour. Cr Jacinta Price, who on past performance on this issue might have been expected to support them, was absent from the meeting. Cr Matt Paterson, who often votes with this bloc, was hesitating. Last year he provided the circuit breaker that led to the first breakthrough on the flag issue.
Cr Marli Banks unexpectedly had to leave the meeting, due to a family emergency, and the Mayor called a 10-minute break.
When the meeting resumed, the vote on the Mayor’s addendum was called a second time. Cr Paterson voted against.
The Mayor called for a division, which will record in the meeting minutes that he and Crs de Brenni and Auricht were in favour.
The addendum having failed, Cr Satour’s amended motion was put and unanimously supported.
There were murmurs of congratulations to her.
Mayor Ryan said with pique that congratulations should go to the whole council, that it was a bit surprising the division this had caused.


  1. Victory is ours. Anyway, now lets move on.
    I don’t personally see the need to fly the TSI flag. This is Arrernte land and I am not suspecting TSI people will take offense to it missing nor expect to see it flying.
    Can council please put the same energy into the disgusting amount of rubbish littered through the town? There are bylaws for this but not much action…
    The amount of litter through CBD, on council lawns etc is terribly off putting for both locals and tourist alike. Dealing with littering may not be overly symbolic but it sure is practical.

  2. Wonderful news! Now I feel real hope for Alice Springs to moving towards a true reconciliation with the original inhabitants of central Australia. Thank you Cr Satour for your persistence and a big thank you also to the traditional owners for their patience.

  3. I wonder why everyone seems to insist this issue began 20 years ago? As I pointed out in my article last year (https://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2018/03/25/in-a-flap-over-flags-a-possible-compromise/) the original request for flying the Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill was first made in 1989 which by my mathematics is 30 years ago.
    It’s also forgotten that the two large flag poles erected in 1989 replaced four smaller ones. These were used to fly the national flag (which flew on the east side of the monument) and the individual armed services flags which overlooked the town. These flags were only flown on Anzac Day and (I think) Remembrance Day but for the remainder of the year there were none.
    This issue had its genesis from the protracted political and ideological disputes between the NT Government and the major land councils that dominated Territory politics during the 1980s.

  4. Congratulations Cr Satour, custodians are behind you and support you. @Alex Nelson, thank you for clarifying request time length, interesting to note, however it’s now fulfilled.

  5. Wow a slap in the face for TSI people, you mob we don’t care about apparently. Pity they don’t have a voice as loud as others.

  6. Good on Cr Matt Paterson for having the balls to vote in favour of flying the flag in previous votes and good on Cr Cathy Satour for proposing it. The sky was never going to fall in and thankfully, being reasonable won over being regressive.
    As a councillor who seems to increasingly sit in the middle ground, he will be one to watch in future elections I think…
    Glad to finally see the Tories recognising that the writing is on the wall on this issue and despite their voting history, that they were standing on the wrong side of history on this one. Except for Price. She bailed again.

  7. Flying the Aboriginal flag on an important site for Alice Springs Aboriginal people is the point. Council has for many years overlooked this as an opportunity for something great until now as Cr Satour and supporters got the flag up.

  8. Wow … so now we have the Australian flag representing all the people living here in Australia and also a flag of a race of people (Aboriginal).
    Can we presume we can perhaps have other races flags up there too now? Supposed to be one flag for the whole nation. No wonder there is still no real solution to the racial problems in this country when our supposed leaders divide the people.

  9. The latest news is now 365 days including Anzac Day. Hopefully council will erect two extra poles not just 1 so protocol can be followed.
    After the Australian National Flag, the order of precedence of flags is: national flag of other nations, state and territory flags, other Australian flags prescribed by the Flags Act 1953, ensigns and pennants.

  10. Those jumping up and down and complaining that there should only be one flag for all Australians … if we are a multi-cultural society, why is the Union Jack on our national flag?

  11. David – Spot on mate! One flag, that represents us a… errrr, hang on – you mean the one with the Union Jack…?
    I guess that means it represents *gasp* The United Kingdom?
    What in god’s name does that have to do with this country, in 2019? How is that representative of ‘the whole nation’ as you put it?
    The only flag we should be debating flying is the one representing the UK!

  12. Cath, Patto, Jimmy and crew at the council are all motoring on, reliably focused on good little wins and outcomes in the community.
    Only one yet to produce anything aside a whole bunch of talk is Nambayamba.


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