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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7817

Senator RIDGEWAY (New South Wales) (9.41 a.m.)—I move:

That the Senate—

(a) pays tribute to Mr Albert Namatjira as the first Indigenous professional artist in Australia, who was born 100 years ago and died in 1959 after achieving national and international acclaim for his exceptional ability as an artist;

(b) acknowledges that Albert Namatjira:

(i) adapted western-style painting to express his cultural knowledge and the strength of his connection to his traditional country, and

(ii) is now regarded as a national treasure in recognition of the cultural legacy he has left all Australians, as well as the inspiration he is to generations of Indigenous artists who have followed in his footsteps;

(c) recognises that:

(i) the legal protection of Mr Namatjira's works provided by the Copyright Act 1968 will expire in 2009, bringing to an end the ability of the copyright owner to exercise an exclusive right to use and reproduce his works, or to allow others to do so in return for a financial benefit, and

(ii) the Public Trustee of the Northern Territory Government authorised the sale of Mr Namatjira's copyright to Legend Press in 1983, thereby ending the ability of the descendants of Mr Namatjira to benefit from on-going income from the reproduction of his works; and

(d) calls on the Government to:

(i) enter into discussions with the Northern Territory Government to buy back the copyright in Albert Namatjira's works, so that exclusive control of the use and reproduction of his works is restored to his descendents, as well as the receipt of all financial benefits that result from the use and reproduction of his works under copyright protection, and

(ii) in recognition of the contribution Mr Namatjira has made to the development of Australia's cultural identity and the need to protect his legacy for future generations, explore all relevant legal and other measures that will provide ongoing protection of the Namatjira name and his reputation and standing as one of our pre-eminent artists.

Question negatived.


Senator Brown —I would like to record the Green vote in favour of that motion.