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Indigenous party design competition

Wednesday, 13th January, 2021

(Second from left) Indigenous Aboriginal Party of Australia convener Owen Whyman with members of his community dance group in Wilcannia. PICTURE: Gab McIntosh (Second from left) Indigenous Aboriginal Party of Australia convener Owen Whyman with members of his community dance group in Wilcannia. PICTURE: Gab McIntosh

By Myles Burt

Australia’s first Indigenous political party are holding a public competition for the design of their party t-shirt.

Founded last October, the Indigenous Aboriginal Party of Australia are offering $150 for the winning design.

Party convener Owen Whyman said they decided to hold a competition to open up the design opportunity to everyone, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“We have a couple of artists in Wilcannia but I think it’s a good way to get it out there and also to promote our Indigenous party,” Mr Whyman said.

The aim of having a t-shirt is to reward their members with party apparel, but also for anyone who would like to support the party by purchasing the shirt.

Mr Whyman said the party will look to hold other design competitions, looking to have a party shirt focused on the Darling Baaka River to increase awareness of the water issues surrounding the river.

Assistant to the Secretary Gab McIntosh said due to current copyright issues with the Aboriginal  flag they are encouraging artists to take inspiration from the flag but not to add an exact copy of it in their design.

“We encourage people if they want to use the flag in their design to modify it in a way that it doesn’t look exactly like the Indigenous flag,” Ms McIntosh said.

Designed by Indigenous artist Harold Thomas in 1971, the full copyright of the Aboriginal Flag was leased to WAM Clothing in 2018.

Allowing the company to have exclusive rights to the flag on clothing, physical media and digital media.

Ms McIntosh said the party find the copyright issue absolutely appalling as they can’t freely use the culturally significant flag as a part of their new political party.

Ms McIntosh said not being able to freely use the Aboriginal Flag is one of the many issues as to why an Indigenous political party in needed in Australia, which will establish their own independent voice that isn’t filtered through government-run committees.

“Because, for goodness sake, they (government) can’t even get the flag right,” Ms McIntosh said.

“What are they doing about children being taken away from their families and juveniles being locked down when they can’t even get the flag right?

“It strengthens our case that it’s just not enough to go begging to various members of parliament to do the right thing, we need to have our own voice.”

Mr Whyman said the party is close to reaching the 500-member mark, which will allow them to submit their new party to Parliament.

Mr Whyman said the party has passed the 500-membership mark but can’t apply yet due to 60 of their members incorrectly filling in membership forms.

“Of course people didn’t fill in their proper name or their street address, just little minor mistakes that they didn’t fill in properly and we’re trying to rectify all of that,” Mr Whyman said.

“So we’re just trying to chase up another 60 people that never done it properly so we can submit by the end of this month or February.”

Ms McIntosh said interested artists who are looking to submit their t-shirt designs can do so in any format.

She said the party will enter into negotiations with the author or illustrator of the winning design about copyright before creating and distributing the t-shirt.

Entries are to be emailed to indigenouspartyofaustralia@gmail.com.

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