Interview with ABC's Patricia Karvelas

Patricia Karvelis: This is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and flying the flag in the parliament or outside the Parliament you're putting a proposal up.  What would you like to see?

Andrew Bragg: PK I think in this day and age most Australians would expect that the national flags of Australia, those that are in the Flags Act would be permanently displayed inside the Parliament building, and I think we should look to do that. I think it's important that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are seen inside our home of democracy.

Patricia Karvelis: And that's obviously not the view of everyone in your political party. What are you doing to convince them?

Andrew Bragg: Well, I don't think it would help for me to profile those details right now with you, but look my sense is that these issues I think can be resolved in time, and that would be important change to the presentation here in Canberra.

Patricia Karvelis: Of course. The reason this is even a debate is there was a vote for my view across it in the Senate where you hang out and your side of politics voted against the flags are in NAIDOC week being flown. Do you think that was a mistake?

Andrew Bragg: Australia has one national flag. There are the flags in the Flags Act which have official status, but every country has one official flag, and I think it's appropriate that the flag above Parliament House is the flag that’s in the chambers, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for the Aboriginal flag, and the Torres Strait Island flag to be elsewhere inside the parliamentary precinct on permanent display. For example in NAIDOC Week the Indigenous flags were only flown outside the House of Representatives and not the Senate. It was only for one week out of the 52.

Patricia Karvelis: And why is it such a important issue? What sort of message do you think it would send to indigenous Australians?

Andrew Bragg: Well, next year is the 50th anniversary of the flag first flying and I think it would be an important step towards reconciliation for us to fly what are flags of Australia in the nation's parliament, and I don't think it is a... I understand people have strong feelings about this, but I feel strongly that these are very much flags of Australia and they belong in this building on a permanent basis.

Patricia Karvelis: Ok. I guess your right.  The Flags Act, they are flags of Australia. Why doesn't everyone see that and why don't people see it in your own political party?

Andrew Bragg: Symbols mean different things to different people. People feel strongly about symbols and some people would say that these are not flags that deserve to be you permanently displayed and some people may see the flags as divisive. I don't. I think people in my generation would see who grew up with the Indigenous. You would see them as a part of a complete presentation of Australia.

Patricia Karvelis: There's a lot of work to do obviously on all of these things. You're also very passionate about an Indigenous voice to Parliament being enshrined in the constitution. Do you think that's still going to happen, that’s still happen given the position of your political party?

Andrew Bragg: I think the most important component of the Uluru statement that I see as non-Indigenous person, is this concept of having a voice to Parliament which would give Indigenous people a say on laws and policies which affect them, which I think as a person who believes in liberal democracy that is quite a fair thing because of course the only Australian to have to have laws made for them, especially are Indigenous people, so that is an important reform I think it would work well in the bush. It would work well in the regions and in the city, and I think that is a policy which we are committed to as a government certainly Ken Wyatt is working on this in detail as we speak.

Patricia Karvelis: Andrew Bragg, ended up having a solo interview there as the bells ringing but it was pretty fun. Thanks for coming on.

MEDIA | John Mangos | 0401 392 624

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April 22, 2021
Senator Andrew Bragg