News National PM hedges his bets on flying indigenous flags

PM hedges his bets on flying indigenous flags

flags parliament
There's room for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags in parliament, Mayo MP Rebekha Sharkie says. Photo: Getty
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Malcolm Turnbull has talked down the odds of flying indigenous flags in the House of Representatives after being skewered on the issue in question time.

Labor offered bipartisan support for the proposal raised by Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie on Thursday as parliament prepared to wrap up for the week.

“I have to say, and remind the honourable member, while we pay great respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, the flag hanging in each corner of this room is the flag of Australia,” Mr Turnbull told parliament.

If Ms Sharkie moved to amend the standing orders for that purpose, the Prime Minister said, the government would take her proposal on board.

The question sparked a point of order as to whether it was appropriate to direct it to Mr Turnbull, but the Opposition jumped on board right away.

“If it’s of assistance to the Prime Minister, as these things should be, we’ll offer bipartisanship if you choose to take up the member for Mayo’s offer,” Labor leader Bill Shorten said.

The leaders had shaken hands over the despatch box on Wednesday in united condemnation of a “racist” maiden speech by Senator Fraser Anning.

It was in that spirit that Ms Sharkie asked her question of the Prime Minister.

“We have seen action and language matters. Yesterday this House was united to condemn racism,” she said.

“In the continuation of that spirit and spirit of reconciliation, and recognition of the history and culture of Australia’s First Peoples will the government support flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in this chamber?”