News National Indigenous Minister Ken Wyatt negotiates Aboriginal flag rights

Indigenous Minister Ken Wyatt negotiates Aboriginal flag rights

Carlton's Eddie Bett makes his feelings clear. Photo: AAP
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Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt is in talks to buy the rights to the Aboriginal flag.

Mr Wyatt is having discussions with Indigenous artist and copyright holder Harold Thomas, who designed the flag in 1971, and the non-Indigenous company that owns the commercial licensing rights.

“I commit to doing everything I can to bring about a resolution that respects not only the artist of the flag but a resolution that respects the rights, enterprise and opportunity of all Australians,” he said on Friday.

The confirmation comes days after it was revealed Labor is drafting legislation that would compel the minister to negotiate with the copyright holder.

The long-running issue recently resurfaced after the AFL was unable to use the Aboriginal flag during its Indigenous round.

The league did not strike an agreement with WAM Clothing, which has exclusive rights to reproduce it on garments.

Mr Wyatt encouraged fans to protest the stalemate by draping the Aboriginal flag around themselves.

The minister has held private conversations with Mr Thomas to buy the intellectual property rights but his offers have until now been rebuffed.

His department is also looking at ways to solve issues around the use of the flag.

Indigenous Olympic gold medallist Nova Peris and Indigenous businessman Warren Mundine have both called on the federal government to buy the copyright.