City council to review protocols after Aboriginal flag lowering

Adelaide City Council is reviewing its flag protocols following Lord Mayor Jane Lomax-Smith’s decision to lower the Aboriginal flag to half-mast after the Voice referendum result.

Oct 25, 2023, updated Oct 25, 2023
Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily

Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily

Council chief executive Clare Mockler confirmed on Tuesday night that a review of council’s civic protocols was underway after the Aboriginal flags at Town Hall and Victoria Square were lowered to half-mast last week.

Lomax-Smith said her decision to lower the flag came after consultation with members of council’s reconciliation committee and was in line with council’s support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

But the decision and process have been criticised by Liberal Party councillor Henry Davis and attracted widespread media interest.

“I think it’s important to review the process that was undertaken, and that review has commenced,” Mockler told councillors last night.

“And I also think it’s important to update and review civic protocols in relation to the last week’s events, and that work has already commenced and will be brought back to council for consideration in due course.”

Mockler said she had already engaged external advice on the process that led to last week’s decision, adding that the review would make sure procedures are “fit for purpose and current”.

The review comes after Local Government Minister Geoff Brock told parliament last week that a mayor “cannot interfere and direct administration on operational issues”. Brock was asked whether a mayor has the authority to direct administration on flag flying.

Lomax-Smith said on Tuesday that her decision was made following “the receipt of protocol advice”.

“As council’s principal spokesperson, I am of the view that it was appropriate for council to express empathy for those affected by the result of the referendum, especially in light of our very public support for the proposition of reform and Yes,” she told councillors.

“My intention was entirely expressing empathy in this view. Our relationship with our First Nations people doesn’t end with the referendum, and a public expression of empathy is little more than expressing that support.

“The step was taken in consultation with First Nations people, the chief executive officer and following the receipt of protocol advice.”

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Lomax-Smith said she was “pleased that the chief executive officer is now updating council’s civic processes and protocols”.

“I note preliminary advice on this has already been obtained, and in that context, I don’t intend to comment further on this matter at this time,” she said.

Support for the Voice ranged between 62 and 68 per cent in polling booths around the City of Adelaide. North Adelaide also recorded a 55 per cent Yes vote.

South Australia’s overall Voice referendum vote currently stands at 64.4 per cent No, 35.6 per cent Yes.

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.