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Flag Day: We Should Change the Australian Flag

Current Australian FlagIt's not often that I do two blog entries in one day, but i think that both this issue and the previous entry deserve to be separated.

Not many Australian's will know or realise it, but today in Australia is Flag Day. I thought that I would take this opportunity to express my thoughts on Australia's flag. *puts on flame suit*

I know that a lot of people will vehemently disagree with me on this, but it is my own opinion that the flag of this great country should be changed. Now before the obvious responses to that statement come out, I love this country as much as any Aussie, and I do not hate Australia nor its history and traditions.

But just as I support the Australian Republican Movement, I think a closely related issue is that of the flag (although it would be suicide to include both of those issues simultaneously on a referendum!).

Like most other British colonies, our flag features that of Great Britain, the Union Jack. Jerry Seinfeld famously said a few years ago when visiting Australia: "I love your flag - Britain at night", and also the Barmy Army chant aimed at Australians: "Get your fucking stars off our flag." (lol)

This points out how much of the world sees the former British colonies' flags that include the Union Jack. Australia is not a British colony anymore, and just as we changed our national anthem from God Save the Queen, it is a logical extension that the flag of this sovereign and independent nation should follow suit.

A lot of resistance to changing the flag understandably comes from members or descendants of the various armed forces of Australia. Whilst I understand their emotion at changing something that people have fought and died for and under, the same argument of the national anthem is again relevant. Why was the anthem so easily officially changed in 1984, well after many years and wars of our soldiers singing and fighting along and under it? Why the difference from one obvious statement and reminder of British colonisation to another? Both were flown and sung through multiple wars and tours of duty, and like the anthem change, nobody would say that changing the flag diminishes in any way the service and sacrifice people have made for this country.

Whatever the argument, i realistically do not see the flag being changed anytime soon, mainly because of the tough Australian referendum requirements. Another obstacle is the extreme subjectiveness of what a possible successor to our current flag would actually be.

The high-profile organisation Ausflag have promoted various designs over the years, including more recently from national competitions these designs in 1998, and previously this one in 1993 (both 'winners' shown below).

1998 Design Competition Winner  1993 Design Competition Winner

In my own opinion, most of those designs aren't all that good. Probably the best Australian flag design that I have seen is the "Southern Cross and Boomerang" from FlagOz (shown below).

Southern Cross and Boomerang Flag

What I love about that flag is that other than retaining the recognisable Southern Cross, it simultaneously includes the country's colours (Green and Gold) whilst also acknowledging the Aboriginal heritage with the boomerang. I think it blends and fits so well, and would be a great symbol and flag for this nation and all Australians.

This is an extremely divisive issue, and of course this is all my own opinion. By all means express your own opinion in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “Flag Day: We Should Change the Australian Flag

  1. I believe the flag should be changed but we need to make sure that respect is shown for the people that have served, fought and lost their lives protecting the values and lives of this country. If we remember this and use the flag for special occasions e.g. Anzac day then it should be held above the new flag. If you would like to take a one minute survey on this issue you can go to http://www.newaustraliaflag.com

  2. Why does everyone hate the union jack? What is so offensive about shared trials and tribulations with the english. It is the flag that Australia was founded under. And the english are progenitors of parlamentary democracy. If you hate the monarch and love republicanism there's a country for that AMERICA, why does australia have to be a little america and copy whatever is "cool" and "hip" with the big kids.

  3. It's not that I 'hate' the Union Jack, God Save the Queen, the Monarchy, or the British history and basis of society; it's just that it's not who we are as Australians anymore.

    As i said in the entry, just as God Save the Queen wasn't relevant as a national anthem anymore, neither is the Union Jack on our flag for us as an independent and sovereign nation.

    It has nothing to do with being 'like America' (which i assume you mean the United States of America). There are plenty of other former and current Commonwealth nations that have become republics and changed their flags without doing it to be 'cool' or 'hip' like the USA. It's about our national identity.

  4. I'm not talking about you in person, I'm sorry if it came across that way. I just am still not convinced that the "flag debate" and the "culture wars" in general arent just about trying to erase british culture from the australian heritage. If just one of the major alternative flag designs in that 1999 ref or whatever still had the union jack in it I might not be so skeptical. But as for who the australians are anymore, just becasue people cant talk about it as much, 85% of aussies are majority british decent. More or less equal to UK itself. I dont care if a bunch of drunk holligans in the barmy army think that australia doesnt belong. The debate shouldn't look to them as a source of insight poke poke. Also GSTQ is still the australian royal anthem. Though IMO waltzing matilda is better than that goofy advance australia fair. Though waltzing matilda may just be a tad too odd. Anyway I just think the australian national identity is still and probably will always be intertwined with that of the british people, though maybe not always the UK itself.

  5. I'll take your word for the 85% figure of British descent (it does sound right), but how many were born in Australia? (census info here)

    I'm a child of Greek and Cypriot parents, but I was born here and identify myself as Australian first, and the others second. I would wager the majority of Australian-born people would as well.

    Whilst our British history and heritage is an important part of what made Australia, we're now Australians first-and-foremost, not a British colony or British-descended. It's my own humble opinion that our constitution, and consequently our flag, should reflect that change and independence.

  6. Well, im not even Australian, just a prospective immigrant from the USA. Im migrating for business but I do very much respect the history and culture of your nation. I hope one day that I may assimlate and become part of it. I would like to see its institutions continue into the future. Though some may seem ethnocentric, I just feel they represent Australia still and should be promoted rather than shyed away from. Thanks for the dialogue it has been interesting.

  7. I understand that this is topic that is at the hearts of many people. Many feel that the Australian flag does not represent what we are as Australians today.Australia has changed so much and many people are just starting to learn the full truth of what happened to the Aborigines when white settlers arrived. Me being one of those people.

    Our flag represents our nation. I like our flag but would be happy to embrace a flag that brings all Australians together.

  8. Hey.Its a tough one this business of changing your national flag. We did it here in Ireland in 1916 after the proclamation of independence from the UK & then officailly in 1922 when we left the union completely. Our flag represents north & south traditions on our island but to date is only accepted by republicans so Australia really needs to get it right if you ever change your flag to ensure the whole nation including its British & Irish decendents along with its aboriginal natives are all on board from the off...Good luck Australia & you have our support either way.

  9. The southern cross is all that is needed.
    The southern cross is even important to aboriginals as well.
    The eureka flag is the one for US.

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