Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) — I am very proud to be here representing the Australian Sex Party on the day the Aboriginal flag was permanently raised above this Parliament. As many people have said, it is a day that has been long overdue. Victorian Aboriginal history is very rich, and that is largely due to the people of the Kulin nation. I pay my respects to their ancestors and elders, both past and present. I would also like to pay my respects to the younger generation and the current generation who are carrying on this great culture. It was wonderful to see Aunty Carolyn’s grandchildren there today taking part in the smoking ceremony, as well as the welcome to country ceremony.
This flag is a symbol that all Australians are proud of today. It represents the first people of this country, and I hope it further unites us in the shared pride and respect we have for our fantastic Indigenous heritage. However, for me personally, when I come to this place it will also be a daily reminder of the gap. We still need to make a lot of inroads into disadvantage and the gaps we see in health, education and wellbeing. We all know the statistics, and they are quite damning in Victoria. I know we have a long way to go to closing that gap, but I hope this is a constant reminder to us to work towards that when we are in this place. International Day of Democracy was probably a great day to be doing this and to be reminding ourselves of this democratic nation and the respect we have for our first nations.
Finally, I would like to note that 55 St Andrews Place does not have a flag yet; it has two empty flagpoles. That is just a note, maybe, to the Special Minister of State that we might be able to fill those flagpoles with something meaningful today.