Flying the flag for inclusion
A DRAFT updated policy on flag-flying and flag poles was presented to Shire councillors at the regular June meeting, but a decision was deferred for six months.
The policy meant the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags would continue to fly at the Golden Plains customer service centres until another more in-depth review due in December of 2023.
Cr Owen Sharkey put forward a prepared alternative motion that consideration of the flag policy be deferred for six months, pending a more comprehensive review, and this was carried.
“We’re at the mid-point of our councillor term now, so I don’t know why we’re going to defer this to the end of our councillor term. I’m suggesting we commence that process now,” he said.
“There’s lots of things there to be considered. Given our 2040 Vision, Council Plan and values, we have a fantastic opportunity here to meet some of those obligations that ratepayers have bestowed upon us.”
Cr Sharkey said flags that help to create an inclusive community should fly during meetings, and at Shire offices, and suggested a fourth pole could be added to flag sites.
“What about flying something for NAIDOC Week, for pride, for mental health, for minority communities? It’s about inclusion,” he said.
Originally “curious” as to what was missing from the draft update that could improve it, Cr Clayton Whitfield supported the alternative motion.
“There could be some extensions to the review that it didn’t capture. The current flag policy doesn’t govern use of flags internally at meetings,” he said.
“In terms of the installation of extra poles at various council offices… there’s a bit to work through in terms of logistics, resourcing, who’s putting the flags up, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen.”
Cr Helena Kirby suggested flags be flown outside of the Linton Shire offices, now a community hub.