The Australian flag debate was recently re-opened by Ray Martin and the ‘60 Minutes’ current affairs television show. Ray and his team of producers received piles of hate mail and death threats. What happened to freedom of speech? Most of the people writing these letters of hate mail and death threats were the kind of people who advocated freedom of speech in order to vilify people based on their race/religion/culture. Double standards?
Read the transcript of the story that went to air:
Vera is very angered that the Australian flag should acknowledge our cultural diversity and our Indigenous heritage – this outrages her completely. “…they want out flag to represent other countries…”. Well, Vera, that’s not what flag-change advocates want at all. They want a flag that represents the true picture of modern Australia, and a flag that allows us to stand as our own independent country. One in four Australians were born overseas. One in two Australians has foreign roots.
Take a look at Vera’s last name – hardly an Aussie name – or is it? Either way, Vera is unable to recognise that the Union Jack represents another country, and that the Southern Cross is something shared by half of the world. In fact, the Southern Cross appears on the following flags:
Papua New Guinea
Presidential Standard of Brazil
Queen’s Personal New Zealand Flag
East New Britain
New Ireland Province
Simbu Papua New Guinea Province
West New Britain
Magallanes Region, Chile
Tierra del Fuego
South Atlantic Islands
Olympic flag of Australasia
Flag of the Ross Dependency
That doesn’t include state flags. Hardly exclusive.
And as for having another country owning a quarter of our flag with their national flag – doesn’t this seem silly to anyone else?
My ideal Australian flag is a map of the continent, plus Tasmania and the other islands that make up Australia and that land space filled by the Koorie (for want of a better word) flag. On a green and yellow background.
I’d love the Union Jack to go and I’m not overly attached to the southern cross either.
It is a sad day indeed to read that death threats are aimed at any person who simply suggest a Flag change for Australia.
The Flag Debate has been an ongoing national debate since Australia’s Federation and Adoption of the current flag.
From 1901 to 1967 we Australian Aboriginals were not citizens of this country and therefore the current Australian Flag was seen as not truy representing our Peoples, which is why our Mob went and designed our own Flag to represent our Peoples.
I have seen suggestions for the Aboriginal Flag to replace the Union Jack but do not agree with any suh suggestions because the Aboriginal Flag is exclusive such as the Union ack is exclusive.
I prefer the Reconciliation Flag designed by Brendon Jones, just need to add Green and you then actually have colours that comes from most of the World’s National Flag Colours.
Brendon Jones Reconciliation Flag link:
There’s an interesting Kiwi website about flag change, and they discuss a number of designs there, and why they like them: http://www.nzflag.com/
I have never been sure about an alternative Australian design. In the ’90s my mum was a supporter of adding the indigenous Australian flag to the existing design, alongside the Union Jack. I don’t really think much of that myself.
I think I would like something simple, perhaps with Uluru in the centre – just something that is a unique symbol we can all (hopefully) relate to and recognise as a part of our country.
The flag is fine how it is.
No Matthew, it’s not fine really… It fails to represent more than one section of the community; it pays no respect to the traditional custodians of the land, and seeing as they ran the show for over 40,000 years and the British have been here for a bit over 200, I think they’re entitled to some respect; it contains the flag of another country in what’s called the canton, the most prestigious and important part of the whole flag. It signifies British power and ownership; our flag fails to contain our national colours, our heraldic colours or the Aboriginal colours; the only uniquely Australian symbol on our flag is the Federation Star, subordinately to the all-conquering Union Jack; lastly, our flag is anything but unique, unrecognisable to the rest of the world, and constantly confused with not just the NZ flag, but a host of other national and state flags, ensignes, and even yacht club flags!
Our flag is not fine how it is, we need something that represents all of Australia, past, present and future; something unique, and something we can ALL be proud of.
If we get rid of the “British” part of the flag because it isn’t relevant to today’s society why replace it with another symbol that represents just a small part of our country (ie. the Aboriginal flag).
If we have to have a new flag, let’s have one that represents ALL Australians.
I’ve been passionate about a new flag for Australia since I was very young. (I had a bit of a thing for flags as a kid… :s lol)
This post is brilliant, I couldn’t have put it better myself, well done to the author.
Here is my all time favourite suggestion for a new flag. Please do check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it too. I know someone who had it made up and flies it proudly in her garden lol. http://www.ausflag.com.au/images/leunig.gif
Great site, am enjoying your work, I will be back soon 🙂
just leave the flag as it is our anzacs died for that flag and most of all this country … If u dont like it leave i dont no about yous but i would proudly fight for our flag would u???
im proud of the australian flag……..
The ANZACs were fighting under the Union Jack. And in case you hadn’t noticed, that’s another countries’ flag.
The Union Flag (the term ‘union jack’ was only given to ships that carried the flag although to my understanding this is still fiercely debated) is not another country’s flag. It represents the UK and since the UK is not a country it then cannot ever represent one country alone (it is made up of several nations i.e. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man etc hence ‘The United Kingdom’). I think this is why it lends itself readily to the symbolic identity of other countries such as NZ and Aus. It represents the commonwealth which broken down further could be interpreted as a unity of ‘like-minded’ nations. Hasn’t always but I guess like with lots of things, its meaning has evolved.
Happy to have a new flag – but similarly happy to have the current one. I was born in England so maybe that has influenced my perception of it but my parents are born and bred australians as are my grandparents.
I’m inherently proud of our flag as it stands but if there was one to supercede it, I would be just as proud.
As a Veteran myself, I can tell you we do not fight for the ‘Flag’ at all.
We fought for our mates, looking after our mates and those we needed to protect from some very evil people.
This ‘fighting for the flag’ is nonsense!
I am not an old bloke either, I was involved in very recent and ongoing conflicts. Soldiers serve where they are told to, as dictated by the Govt policies.
We as Soldiers may not agree on a personal level of where we are sent and what we must do, however, as professionals we do what we are told.
Mateship is a strong bond in a combat zone, not Queen, country or flag.
For your information I am 8th generation born on my fathers side. My last name is my mothers maiden name, but my real last name is White. I have had great great grandfathers die fighting for this country so I still say leave the flag alone, if you want to change the flag get out of australia.
Surprising though it may be to you, other Commonwealth countries have changed their flags at various times.
South Africa has in fact had four flags. Canada is on its second flag. Their flags were changed with little or no concern from their citizens.
It is likely that New Zealand will soon change its flag to the Silver Fern we are familiar with.
So is it only you and the APP you support which have such violent objections?
Who the fuck are you and your piss weak 8th generation telling people to get out of Australia. I am in my thousandth generation Ms “White”, so YOU get out of Australia and take your union jack with you!
Australia would not be what it is without Englands help. HISTORY is history. Its what makes this country so proud. Thousands have died under the present flag, for the flag and for this country. It is down right disrespectfull to want to change it and if other countries want to change their flag good on them but thats why australia is austrlia because we dont try to be like every other country.
Yes, yes, England was displaying wonderful altruism with its colonialism.
I don’t care much about arguments to change the flag – it is just a flag. Which also makes it seem a little silly to kill and die for the flag if you ask me. I would fight for the immediate safety of my family and other innocents, not for a couple of symbols on a blue background. That is what the diggers were killing and dying for (I presume), not a flag.
Regarding killing, don’t you think that it is interesting that we have such distrust and disappointment in our government, yet will go and kill some bloke we have never met just because it says so?
Also, how many wars have we fought under the flag? How many of them can you name? Were all of them wars to be proud of? Were we always fighting and killing and dying for the right reasons? You have a very idealistic view of our military history, but Australia has killed people to suppress other countries freedoms under the flag, and for what reasons?
All countries have done the same. No war is a reason to be proud of but I am proud of the australian history. One question thou. Why should the flag be changed? To accomadate what our country is becoming?
Nd we dont fight for our goverment we fight to keep our australia free nd safe.
No, to accommodate what it is. Australia is not a British colony. And the British Government would be the first to state that. Britain and its monarch are indifferent to the constitutional status of Australia.
Changing the flag to reflect this is the right and proper thing to do.
So why do you have problems with this?
I don’t care if the Australian flag is changed. Nor does it bother me the way it is. I am not writing here to argue either way.
Individual soldiers fight for many reasons. Personally I believe that the recent wars have only exacerbated animosity towards our country; Iraq and Afghanistan were never threatening our freedom or safety. We and our allies on the other hand have killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians of theirs. I believe that to go to war was a move to show our allegiance to the other western nations, thus hopefully securing their support in future conflicts. If Australia did not have bigger allies we could be invaded and conquered ridiculously easily by any one of our neighbors.
Regarding other wars. WW2 was probably, to my limited knowledge, the most justifiable war. WW1 was a disgusting result of power play amongst European nations. We only fought there because were had such strong ties to the ‘mother country’, Britain. I don’t doubt that soldiers believed the governments propaganda though and were greatly misled as to the nature of the ‘huns’, the Germans. Also, ours and our allies’ actions (via the treaty of Versailles) after that war greatly contributed to the rise of the Nazi party before WW2, and hence the outbreak of that war.
I am even less informed on the other wars, though there have been around 15 of them, and I would assume that I would be similarly unimpressed with the justification for the killing.
Look. Sorry about the rant. I’ve had a couple, and it makes me emotional. But murder – killing another human, yeah, is one of the most heinous crimes in any legal system. We take it incredibly seriously. It can get you decades in jail, even in hot-blood, which is fair. But when a government takes their country to war, they are usually sanctioning the killing of thousands. And all I ask is: why don’t we subject such mass murder to the same scrutiny and consideration? How well do you really understand the reasons behind all the wars our forefathers have fought in? And those we are fighting now? Can we really justify, in recent years, the killing of (last time I checked) over 60,000 innocent civilians? I am not incredibly well educated. I am not a political scientist. But to justify the loss of so many?
Christ. No wonder I am cynical when it comes to war.