• Aboriginal flag and Australian flag hanging from a fence together (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
A local council in South Australia has voted against a motion that would enable the Aboriginal flag to be flown outside council chambers, saying it would promote division.
Jerico Mandybur

21 Mar 2016 - 1:28 PM  UPDATED 21 Mar 2016 - 1:28 PM

While Campbelltown council will continue to fly the Aboriginal flag during particular occasions, such as NAIDOC Week, Councillor Max Amber told a council meeting that permanently flying it outside council chambers would increase the cultural divide.

Neville Grigg was one of five councillors who voted against the motion and says he knows many community members who share his views.

"I believe that Australia only has one flag, not two. To have two flags, I believe it doesn't go towards Reconciliation; it goes towards the division of people," he told NITV.

The 'no' vote was in response to a request from the town's Reconciliation Advisory Committee to spend $2000 on a new flag pole so that the Aboriginal flag could be installed next to the Australian flag. Currently, there are three flags flown outside council chambers: the Australian flag, State flag and Campbelltown flag. 

Yankunjatjara elder and former ATSIC chairperson Lowitja O’Donoghue told the Messenger she was "gobsmacked and surprised" by the vote, saying "I didn't think it was a question anymore, anywhere, because the flag does fly everyday in most council areas."

Mayor Simon Brewer is a member of Campbelltown's Reconcilliation Advisory Committee and condemned the council's vote results on his Facebook page. He wrote, "In my view, in this more enlightened world, if [the council] is not flying the flag and recognising the special and unique place of Aboriginal people in Australia that is divisive."

Mayor Brewer also said he'd now wear Aboriginal-inspired ties in place of the official council ties at functions and events. "Until (the) council moves into the 21st century on this matter, the council tie is retired from this neck," he said.