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Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Page: 87

Senator RIDGEWAY (3:39 PM) —I move:

That the Senate—

(a) congratulates Mr John Bulunbulun on winning the Australia Council's Red Ochre Award which honours an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person who, throughout his or her lifetime, has made outstanding contributions to the recognition of Indigenous Australian art at both national and international levels;

(b) notes that Mr Bulunbulun is a practicing artist of more than 30 years and an important ceremonial leader and singer around his Arnhem Land community of Maningrida;

(c) also notes that Mr Bulunbulun was a pioneer for the protection of artist rights following a landmark court case he fought and won against a manufacturer who illegally reproduced his work, the celebrated `T shirt case' and that he continues to advise fellow artists on copyright, protocols and responsibilities, particularly about depictions of dreaming and totems in their work;

(d) further notes that:

(i) Indigenous cultural expression is a fundamental part of Indigenous heritage and identity, and unauthorised use of Indigenous art and cultural expression can be inappropriate, derogatory and culturally offensive,

(ii) individual Indigenous artists are custodians of the knowledge and wisdom their work incorporates and reflects, therefore Indigenous moral rights are collective rights that are inalienable from their community of origin, and

(iii) Indigenous artists are particularly vulnerable under Australian law, which offers virtually no protection for the moral rights owned collectively by Indigenous communities; and

(e) urges the Government to take immediate action to amend the CopyrightAct1968 to ensure the adequate recognition and protection of Indigenous communal moral rights.

Question agreed to.