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Flag laws at half mast
Media release Flag laws at half mast ***For immediate release***
WHAT: Nick Xenophon and John Madigan press conference over their move to change Flags Act 1953 to require Australian made flags flown above Commonwealth buildings WHEN: 1.30pm Canberra time TODAY
WHERE: Forecourt of Parliament House, Canberra
Monday, February 24, 2014 It was revealed in a Senate Estimates committee hearing this morning that the Australian flag flying over Parliament House doesn’t have to be made in Australia. Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon and DLP Senator for Victoria John Madigan will be introducing legislation mandating any Australian flags flown over Commonwealth buildings must be wholly produced in Australia.
Following questioning by Senators Xenophon and Madigan, the Head of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Carol Mills, confirmed that under current tendering arrangements there was no requirement for the custom-made Australian flag over Parliament House to be made in Australia. Ms Mills cited free trade agreements as one of the reasons for this, and confirmed that no consideration or weight was given to a tenderer making a flag here. She could not guarantee that the current set of ten flags used in rotation over Parliament House is made in Australia.
A tender for these flags closed last April, but no confirmation of whether they would be made in Australia was given.
“What’s more outrageous is that Australian companies have to comply with the Fair Work Act, pay superannuation and provide a safe workplace, but the tender document specifically exempts an overseas-based supplier from complying with Fair Work principles,” Senator Madigan said.
“We need to follow the US Congress’ lead from 2008, when they required all American flags flown on federal property to be made in the USA,” Nick said.
Senators Madigan and Xenophon will be introducing changes to the Flags Act 1953 as a matter of urgency.
They both called on the Prime Minister to categorically rule out that foreign-made flags have not and will not be flown atop Parliament House