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ACM Home arrow Keep Our Flag!

Keep Our Flag!
Australian Flags ANZAC Day


Our beloved Australian Flag remains under attack by a small minority of republican flag changers.

Without a mandate, and notwithstanding their landslide defeat in 1999, the republicans are in the process of removing all symbols of the Australian Crown - an institution they see as a constraint on republican politicians. 

The republican newspaper The Age says that since everyone knows the Flag will change after some unknown (politicians’) republic is adopted, the Australian Flag should be changed now.

Leading republicans opened a major campaign aginst the flag which culminated in a programme on national television on the eve of ANZAC Day, 2010. In a subsequent official inquiry this campaign was ruled to be misleading.

The principal feature of Australia Day 2011 was the endorsement of flag and constitutional change by those chosen as Australians of the Year by the politicians’ Australia Day committees.

The republican flag changers deliberately ran dead during the 1999 republican referendum campaign to assist the republican case, although the republican movement had earlier endorsed an exhibition of new flags to coincide with the 1998 Constitutional Convention as well as a touring exhibition .  Most of these proposed new flags were of the  beach towel variety with one  proposed flag which can only be described as obscenity, and a gross one at that.

Republicans argue that three established facts about our Flag are untrue.



First that Australian Flag was adopted after an open public competition with very wide participation and support which was concluded under the authority of the Commonwealth of Australia;

Second that there was never any requirement that our Flag include the Union Jack,and

Third, that it is the Flag under which Australians have served and died.  



All are absolutely true. And Australians overwhelmingly love their beloved Australian Flag.

Republicans long opposed any requirement for a vote by the people on any change being inserted in the Flag Act or into the Constitution. They were especially annoyed when Parliament did this, and especially by the requirement that in any vote, the existing Flag be included for consideration.

(Most federal republican politicians had to go along with this reluctantly when they realised the changes would pass both houses – they did not want to be on the record opposing this , although previously they planned a change to take effect before 2000 without any vote by the people.) 

A group of prominent republicans continues to campaign for a new flag. They have been careful to ensure none hold office in the republican movement, no doubt to give the impression the two campaigns are entirley separate. There can be little doubt that were a politicians' republic to be imposed, the Flag would be next in line. 

 

 



The Flag Successfully Defended Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Channel 9’s public meeting about the National Flag went ahead on Monday night 19th April at Leichhardt Town Hall.  This was for its current affairs programme, “60 Minutes”.

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...a robust but fair meeting...


Although I still disapprove of the programme being broadcast on ANZAC Day, the event was successful because it was both real and it was democratic. I thought Ray Martin, who has a position I disagree with, ran a pretty fair show. He had to deal with frequent interjections, and had to cut short some speakers who veered off the subject.

Above all the Australian Flag was successfully defended, especially by the Australian National Flag Association's (ANFA) John Vaughan and Bert Martin.

This gracious Victorian building has undoubtedly seen many lively debates, and last night was probably among the liveliest, at least in the post television age.

Before then, political rallies were unplanned and robust, especially the conservative ones which invariably attracted militant communists and socialists whose aim was to disrupt the meeting. Usually this involved no more than robust interjections, where the then Liberal leader Mr. Robert Menzies could be assured to react with an entertaining repartee.

However I do remember a newsreel where Mr. Menzies had to duck to avoid the rotten fruit and eggs thrown at him. I imagine the police would have had to intervene then. The Prime Minister WM (“Billy”) Hughes is said to have established the Federal Police when a state policeman refused to arrest a person who threw an egg at him at a public meeting.  No one could do that now – attendance at political meetings is now only by invitation.




...no disorder....




 In any event this evening had none of that disorder, but the audience did not hold back from interjecting and showing their disapproval or approval.

And unlike the excruciatingly boring election rallies the political parties put on this it was real. It was lively and emotional. But there was never a hint of violence. It’s what our politicians ought to face instead of the party faithful who applaud when told like trained pavlovian dogs.  The irony was that this old world meeting was for the insatiable appetite of the very invention which ended most of them, television.




...not on ANZAC Day...

Image




And there was a surge of feeling against the timing of the broadcast, a feeling that some things are just not done on ANZAC Day.

During the referendum campaign, a suggestion some veterans march under a Vote No banner was quickly abandoned when wiser voices recalled that however worthy this was, it was not in keeping with the objective of the ANZAC Day march – to remember those who died and those who served.Anyway there we were in the heart of the of Sydney's Italian quarter, surrounded by marvellous restaurants. 

It was a Monday night, the quietest night of the week there. And it wasn’t so quiet in the Town Hall.




....flag changers in the minority...


 The subject for the discussion was provocative: “Is it an iconic Australian contemporary image or a colonial relic which should be replaced with something that better reflects Australian society in 2010?”
 My feeling was that the hall was divided with a clear majority in favour of keeping the flag. There is no doubt that this would be even larger among the general population.


Image



...two weaknesses in the case for change...




One argument the flag changers push is we must have a flag which unites us. By that they mean a Flag which they want.  There are two problems with this.

First they have not come up with a flag which Australians immediately recognize as a symbol which is as good as the one they have.  Too many new flags fall into the beach towel category. Then there was that republican embarrassment – how the republican leaders allowed that one is beyond understanding.  That was the flag in the ARM-AUSFLAG Turnbull and Partners supported exhibition which shrieked “ F*** off to Fagland”

The second problem is there will always be dissenters. We are a democracy after all. So a small minority do not like our flag. That is unfortunate, but not a reason for the overwhelming majority to shred their heritage.

Take the case of our National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair. This received a vote of only 43.29% in the 1977 plebiscite to choose a National Song – not a National Anthem. Only in NSW did Advance Australia get a clear majority – just – but in South Australia the vote was only 24.07%.

The South Australians preferred the strains of the beautiful Song of Australia, which graced what was once the ABC’s flagship talk programme, Guest of Honour.

In 1984, the Hawke government, without consultation, changed the words, suppressed part and made what was left of Advance Australia Fair the National Anthem, with God Save the Queen the Royal Anthem. The original draft proclamation would have made it unlawful to sing God Save the Queen in the absence of royalty.

They were saved from public ridicule through the wise intervention of the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen.  But in recent years the then NSW Premier Bob Carr, pausing from state affairs, called for Advance Australia Fair to be replaced with “I Still Call Australia Home”. That is the tune often played by Qantas as a prelude to landing in Australia.

But you can’t change your flag or your anthem every few years. The Russians may have had some reason to do this, but we fortunately are a stable country.




...the case for our Australian Flag...





Returning to Monday night, the entry of Ray Martin was greeted by more boos than cheers.  And on the timely initiative of ANFA's Dianna Hammond, the Leichhardt Town Hall united in singing  the National Anthem.  A coin was tossed, and Peter FitzSimons  decided  ANFA's John Vaughan  should  begin.

He was outstanding.

He recalled the 1901 competition for the design of a federal Australian flag and how over 30,000 entries were received. The winning design , the "Stars and Crosses" was raised for the first time over the Royal Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne - the site of the first Federal Parliament. 

Mr. Vaughan was followed later by Mr. Bert Lane, a former serving officer, who flew over from Western Australia. Together they made a superb contribution, correcting many of the myths which are circulated to deprecate the flag. Further information may be found on the ANFA site, which I have used as an aide for the following summary of their addresses. 



...from Breaker Morant ... 




There is a myth the armed forces did not serve under the Australian Flag, and the Union Flag was effectively the National Flag. Mr Vaughan pointed out that after his execution, the Australian flag was used to covered the grave of "Breaker" Morant.

Image

Our Flag  flew at the 1904 Olympic Games in St Louis USA and the 1908 London Olympic Games in celebration of the first medal win for Australia.

When the Royal Australian Navy was formed in 1911, the Australian flag became the ensign to be worn from the jackstaff of all RAN commissioned ships. It was decided the Flag  be displayed   at the mainmast as the "battle flag" when a ship is in combat, as HMAS Sydney did in 1914 in  her celebrated victory over the German warship, SMS Emden. (The success of HMAS Sydney was an international news event and established the fighting reputation of the Royal Australian Navy.)

Image

 

When Australian forces prevailed at the Battle of Polygon Wood, Belgium, in 1917 during World War 1, Lieutenant A.V.L. Hull, who was later killed in action, planted the Australian flag on an enemy pillbox. 

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...Sir John Monash...




In 1918   General Sir John Monash advised the Governor-General that his troops in France have broken through the German lines and had raised the Australian flag after liberating Harbonnieres.

Image




...Second World War...



 

In 1940  the second HMAS Sydney, with the Australian flag flying as "battle" ensign, defeated the Italian navy’s cruiser, Bartolomeo Colleoni.


Image

 


In 1942 , the Australian flag that flew outside the residence of the Administrator of the Northern Territory was riddled with bullet holes during a Japanese air raid – the first flag to come under enemy attack on Australian soil.

The same flag was used in Darwin for a peace ceremony in 1946. Now on permanent display at the Australian War Memorial, it was flanked on one side by the Australian flag which flew at Villiers-Bretonneux in 1917 and on the other by the Australian flag flown by the HMAS Sydney when it destroyed the Italian cruiser Bartolomeo Colleoni in the Mediterranean in 1940. 

In the same year the Australia’s flag was raised as the allies retake Kokoda, New Guinea.  In 1943  Sgt Tom Derrick raised the Australian flag on a shell torn tree at Mount Sattelberg, New Guinea, after having destroyed ten enemy machine-gun posts. His incredible feat earns him the ultimate award for valour, the Victoria Cross. 

Image




...liberation....




 The first flag to fly over the liberated Singapore in 1945 was an Australian flag secretly made in a prisoner of war camp.

Another Australian flag raised at the liberation of Singapore is now framed and held at the headquarters of the Returned and Services League, Canberra with a plaque which reads "This important artefact was concealed in Changi Prison by Captain Strawbridge MBE, from 1942-1945.

It was raised over the gates of the prison, the day of formal liberation in September 1945."A number of Australian flags were secretly made of scavenged pieces of cloth by Australian prisoners of war in various enemy camps. Some of these precious flags are now lodged in the Australian War Memorial.


This information shared with the audience by John Vaughan and Bert Lane was received in relative quiet. I suspect that some of the flag changers did not know these compelling facts.   A full timeline on the Flag can be seen on the ANFA site.

In particular in 2001 the Governor-General, Peter Hollingworth, proclaimed the Centenary Flag Warrant.   The Centenary Flag is the flag presented on 3 September 2001 to the Prime Minister by the Australian National Flag Association at the flag centenary celebration - Royal Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne. It is a fully sewn, satin, Australian flag, inscribed with a special flag centenary message.

This flag of "Stars and Crosses" features the crimson thread of kinship, which symbolically links past and current generations to future generations of Australians. It will be used for future important national events.




...case for change....



Mr. Peter FitzSimons then argued the case for change. (He earlier came over to shake hands with me – a gracious gesture.) 

He was subject to frequent interjections, but with his poerful voice and strong personality had no real difficulty in putting his case, earning extra time to make up for this.  Indeed the interjections allowed him, unintentionally, to emphasise his points. 

In essence he objects to “the flag of another country being on his flag”.  

 No doubt he will present his case in full in the Sun Herald next Sunday. His argument is about independence and maturity. His view was reflected by other speakers who referred to their Irish or Aboriginal antecedents. Their argument is that they are excluded by the Flag. But this is certainly not the view of all Australians of Irish or Aboriginal descent.




...the constitution and the Flag...




At one point Mr. Martin asked me to speak.  I began by drawing attention to the provisions of the Flag Act as amended in the last Parliament. This requires any change be agreed by the people in a referendum, and most importantly, that the existing Flag be included in any vote.

This means that any decision on flag change must be made by the people. That of course is the democratic way.

I pointed out that Captain Philip did not come alone in 1788 – he brought with the eleven ships, the convicts, the sailors and the marines four gifts which are with us today.

Image



 These are not colonial relics; they are the pillars of our nation. These are our English language, the rule of law under the common law, our Judeo Christian values which are meant for all, as the Rev Richard Johnson stressed in the first sermon, and leadership beyond politics. This comes through our oldest institution,the Crown which before self government sought to protect the weak against the strong and later, was to became a significant check and balance on the political class.

In a surprisingly short period of time, and before the Eureka Stockade, the British introduced legislation to give us self government under the Westminster system, with our own Parliaments and governments.

Then came the sixth pillar, the people’s decision “humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God...to join together in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown” – if you will, a crowned republic. 

No one surely suggests we treat these as colonial relics - although some have tried to construct a mock Crown to replace the real one.

Immediately on Federation our predecessors adopted a Flag which would symbolise these six pillars. And that is the Australian Flag which now flies so proudly over our nation.

Our National Flag could not better symbolise our language, the rule of law under the common law, our Judeo Christian values, leadership beyond politics through  the Crown, the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy and the attainment of one nation through federation. 

With those pillars and under this Flag we have secured two remarkable achievements. First we have established one of the world’s oldest, most egalitarian and stable democracies. Second we have been unequalled in the contributions we have made to the freedom and liberty of other peoples across the world and through the last century.




...conclusion...




 

Other  speakers included  Ron Barassi, Pauline Hanson, former Minister John Brown, Warren Mundine, Eliot Harper and Normie Rowe. Space and time do not allow me to summarise their contributions.

But I should mention that, while arguing for change, Ron Barassi registered a timely plea; that people keep their hatreds, if they had them, in the room.

On the whole, and as a democratic exercise, it was a satisfactory evening.

Broadcasting on Anzac Day apart (at least it will be in the evening) Channel 9 through Danny keens and Ray Martin were fair and allowed all sides an opportunity to speak.

Obviously there will need to be editing; I assume that will also be fair.

I think that ANFA ‘s case as to the role and place of the Flag  in national life prevailed.  In any event, the ultimate power to decide is now with the people.  

This requires the politicians to begin the process.

But in the present state of public opinion, few MP's would openly support this.   

In the meantime the current republican strategy is to pretend the Flag is another issue and to put it off. This is because the republican movement believes the flag debate has now been lost, at least until they get a politicians’ republic.

Since they refuse to or cannot say what sort of republic they want, they propose a plebiscite.   ACM has always opposed this because a plebiscite is designed to obtain a vote of no confidence in one of the world’s most successful constitutional systems, without having anything to replace it.

We cannot imagine a more irresponsible invitation for constitutional instability. But that is not the reason why a  plebiscite (or referendum) is not being seriously proposed at the moment.  It is that it is believed likely that it would be defeated.


 

 
Defending the Flag...Tonight Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Monday, 19 April 2010
As we approached Australia Day this year, the well known TV presenter Ray Martin shocked the nation with a call to shred our National Flag.

That campaign is  continuing.   Ray Martin is to  be the Master of Ceremonies of a public meeting on Monday night which is to be featured on Channel 9’s leading current affairs programme, 60 Minutes.

This seems likely to be broadcast next Sunday, 25 April 2010, ANZAC Day.

Image



Although ACM played a leading role in this debate since it began, we had reservations about our participation in such a debate which would feature on ANZAC Day.

On balance we decided we should be involved. (Mr. Martin's agenda, incidentally, extends to change to some unidentified sort of politicians’ republic.)

The discussion will take place in the Leichhardt Town Hall in Sydney on Monday 19th April from 7:30pm until 9:30pm. The Town Hall  is at 107 Norton Street, Leichhardt on the corner of  Marion Street. This is deep in in the heart of Sydney's  Italian restaurant quarter.




…the debate…  





 The subject for the discussion is provocative: “Is it an iconic Australian contemporary image or a colonial relic which should be replaced with something that better reflects Australian society in 2010?”

The speakers will include Peter Fitzsimons, Ralph Kelly, John Vaughan, Bert Lane, Ron Barassi, Pauline Hanson, John Brown, Warren Mundine, Normie Rowe, Harold Scruby  and from ACM, myself  and Young ACM spokesman, Jai Martinkovits




...the campaign begins…
 




As we reported here on 25 January, the TV presenter Ray Martin announced then that he objected “to having the British flag in the corner of our flag.  The flag, like the link to Britain through the constitution, will disappear. “

But as we reminded  Mr. Martin,  all constitutional links to Britain had ended in 1986.  Those  links only lasted until then not because the British wanted them but because state governments from all sides trusted the British more than they did Federal politicians.

According to Alan Howe in The Herald Sun, (“Time to change 'colonial' Australian flag - Ray Martin” 25 January) Mr. Martin’s campaign came just as Labour Party sources confirmed the Rudd Government, if re-elected later this year, will hold a referendum on a republic.

 The republic debate, he says, was rekindled last week with the rapturous response to Prince William's visit to Australia.




 

... also in danger ...






 

Image



In an interview with Channel 7 on 25 January, ACM pointed out that if the flag had to go because of its connection with Britain, the place of the rule of law, the common law, and the jury system in our nation  could also be challenged.  So could the Westminster system and even the use of English?






...not inevitable...




Three days later we challenged Mr. Martin’s  view that shredding both  the flag and our constitution are inevitable.

Then  in the Australian section of The Spectator (30/1), a prominent Australian editor Ian Moore wrote that  Ray Martin  should grow up. He extended this to Malcolm Turnbull, who on losing the Liberal leadership curiously redeclared his republicanism in London and Sydney. Was this to annoy the new leader, Tony Abbott?

Accusing both Mr. Martin and Mr. Turnbull of being snobs,  Mr. Moore said they have a complete inability to understand the Australian people.

Mr. Moore’s “memo to the television celebrity and failed Liberal leader” was to the point.

 “We’re not a colonial relic,” he insisted.



Image




....a referendum?...





Then  as Prince William was about to visit Australia , the Financial Review announced  the Federal attorney General Robert McClelland was considering calling four referendums, including one on soem sort of republic. This was almost immediately downplayed by the Deputy Prime Minister.




  

..Mr. FitzSimons writes...




    On 7 March, I “received” a memorandum  from the prominent journalist and author, Mr. Peter FitzSimons. As it was in the Sydney based Sunday newspaper, The Sun Herald, 7 March 2010, so did well over a million people according to the excellent Roy Morgan readership survey . Mr. FitzSimons had conceived the notorious  Mate for a Head of State campaign, which was noticed in at least the Uk, Canada and New Zealand. ACM ran a vigouous response. Although the campaign failed,  it demonstrated yet  again how the Australian  head of state issue was, is and will always be central to the republican case.Image



 

...the memorandum....


 

 

Memo Professor David Flint,

 

I’ve gone deep undercover on this one but I think I’ve pulled it off.

 

On Tuesday I had a meeting with Ray Martin (see this column  “Ray Martin and Malcolm Turnbull: Grow Up!” 2 February 2010) in a Neutral Bay cafe on the subject of what he sees as the urgent need to change the Australian flag and I think I have made him believe I am on his side!

 

This is amazing when truly, as you know, I can think of no greater pleasure in life than wrapping myself in the Australian flag, with the massive Union Jack uppermost, while I grovel before English royalty as they tickle my tummy....and sorry, I digress.

Anyway, things are moving. Can’t say too much right now but you can count on me to report back.

 

Yours in grovelling to all things English, 

 

           Peter FitzSimons.






... welcome...






We shall no doubt join issue on Monday evening. All are  welcome.

       

 
Repel the vandals Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Thursday, 28 January 2010

Every Australia Day, we reflect on the birth of our nation, as Americans do at Thanksgiving and on Independence Day.  Too often this is the day that a minoirty emerge with proposals to shred our heritage. This is essentially a column released on Australia Day 2010; we are re-issuing it with a video clip of the  Channel 7 report on the republican proposal to shred the flag.

We may well ask why it is that republicans think it appropriate on this day to propose the removal of our oldest constitutional institution without telling us what they are planning to put in its place, or to shred our flag without even suggesting the alternative?
 The sad thing is that they are invariably motivated by a wish to tear down our heritage.



As I told Channel 7 about the plan to shred the flag, why stop there? If the flag has to go because of its connection with Britain, why not target the rule of law, the common law, and the jury system? Why keep the Westminster system?  And while we are in this frenzy of destruction, why not end the use of English?




...vandals revive  the Marxist doctrine of inevitability...




 And why should anyone take any notice if someone, television presenter or politician, declares something inevitable. People of my age remember that socialism and communism were once declared inevitable. And many people, including those who wanted neither, accepted the Marxist prediction that socialism must come.

We must not be so gullible as to fall for a revival of this Marxist doctrine in historical inevitability. Its purpose is to  substitute some undefined flawed politicians’ republic for our present splendid crowned republic.
 

The truly appalling thing is that it is that the vandals are proposing neither a manifestly better constitution nor a more appropriate and beautiful flag. It is just that they have a profound and intensely racist hatred of anything remotely English.

Why then don’t we also reject those other British gifts, the rule of law, juries, the common law, the Westminster system, and yes, the English language? It is all so infantile, so divisive. For the TV presenter Ray Martin, to say he objects to the Union Jack being on our flag because of its British connection is as appropriate as saying he objects to his programmes being in the language of Shakespeare.



 This vandalism is worse than the ignorance exposed in the report in 2006 that the vast majority of teenagers are ignorant of the origins of Australia Day or Anzac Day, or that a recent New South Wales Minister of Education thought Australia Day commemorated Federation.  The public reaction was harsh. As  Oscar Wilde once observed “ Ignorance  is like a delicate exotic fruit, touch it and the bloom is gone.”   That may be so, but vandalism based on uninformed prejudice is worse.




...something rare to celebtrate...





As with a birthday, the 26th of January is a celebration of the life of the nation, past, present and future. Let us hope then that Australians will come in increasing numbers to recognize that the inauspicious beginnings of the nation on 26 January, 1788 established the very pillars on which this nation was founded.  This was not only those pillars the inevitable result of European settlement, our national language and our Judeo Christian values which permeate our laws and customs, whatever religion or lack of religion we may profess.

What our founders gave us were two other institutions of inestimable value which remain with us today.   



 ...never a gulag...  




The first was the rule of law. As we noted on this site, Australia has been very fortunate in the calibre of so many of those involved in the government of the early colonial establishments.  It is worth mentioning Lord Sydney, whom too many glibly dismiss as being of no consequence.  He had taken a decision which would have a fundamental effect on the colony.  Instead of just establishing it as a military prison, he provided for a civil administration, with courts of law. 

 To speak then of the colony as a gulag, as republicans Robert Hughes and Malcolm Turnbull do, is wrong.  The rule of law came to Australia from the founding of the colony in 1788. 

Just consider one example.  An early civil action brought by convicts against a ship captain for theft was defended on the ground that at common law felons could not sue.  The court required the captain to prove this, which was of course impossible since the records were in England.  Can Mr. Hughes give us a similar example of litigation by prisoners in a Soviet gulag?  If not, then he should desist from naming it a gulag.

 Lord Sydney’s decision reflected very much the views of the first Governor, Captain, later Admiral Arthur Phillip.  He wrote, before leaving England, that in this new land "... there will be no slavery and hence no slaves.”  Phillip also ordered that Aborigines be treated well, and indicated that the murder of an Aborigine would be punished by hanging.





...our oldest institution...  




The other pillar brought by Phillip was the Crown, our oldest institution, one offering leadership above politics.

 When the British gave us - gave us, there was no War of Independence – self government under the Westminster system, the Crown emerged as central to our system of government, an institution crossing the federal-state boundaries and providing a crucial  check and balance to the other institutions of government.

We were the ones who developed the final pillar of the nation, federation, but only after we had rejected earlier British attempts to encourage us to embark on this path.

Certainly let us celebrate what we are, but let us remember why we celebrate Australia Day and how those events long ago formed the nation.  And let us firmly and courteously reject the destructive plans of those who would vandalise our heritage, and offer nothing of value in its place.

 
The most important thing is to rid us of our heritage: Ray Martin Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Monday, 25 January 2010

TV presenter Ray Martin says he objects “to having the British flag in the corner of our flag.  The flag, like the link to Britain through the constitution, will disappear. “

But, Mr. Martin,  all constitutional links to Britain ended in 1986.  Those links only lasted until then not because the British wanted them but because state governments from all sides trusted the British more than they did Federal politicians.

Ray Martin has no idea what the new flag should be. He thinks an Aboriginal connection is important. As with the republican movement, he is more concerned with getting rid of our heritage than the replacement.  

In a move likely to alienate his audiences, he is joining the Ausflag board along with republicans Janet Holmes a‘Court and  Philip Adams. 

Image

 

According to Alan Howe in The Herald Sun, (“Time to change 'colonial' Australian flag - Ray Martin” 25 January) Martin’s campaign comes as Labour Party sources confirmed the Rudd Government, if re-elected later this year, will hold a referendum on a republic.  The republic debate, he says, was rekindled last week with the rapturous response to Prince William's visit to Australia.

Ray Martin was surprised by the reaction to Prince William. But it was obvious that on all the evidence this would happen. He is adamant Australia would one day become a republic.

He says the flag “will fade out with that generation of Australians who grew up with the flag and love the flag. I just don’t think we should have to wait that long. Why do we have to wait another 50 years?”

Not only is Mr. Martin’s understanding of the constitution unsound, he clearly has not watched the way young people have taken the flag to their hearts.  
 
Flagging on Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Sunday, 20 September 2009

Peter FitzSimons continued the campaign by the Fairfax media against the Australian Flag - for the third time in the last three weeks. He says that when Australians say it represents our heritage and we must keep it he says the obvious answer is: “ Waddya mean ‘we’, paleface?”  What the flag actually asserts, he wrote in the Sun Herald (13/9) is “the primacy of the Anglo citizen over everyone else. And that , my friends, is un-Australian. Gothchers! “

[ The second proposed new flag reads

Actually our National Flag symbolises the pillars of the nation, the English language, our Judeo Christian values, the rule of law, leadership above politics through our oldest institution, the Australian Crown, representative democracy through the Westminster system, and our indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown. Much was imported from Britain but then Australianised. Should all of this be thrown out?

This is quite apart from the fact that the Flag under which our soldiers sailors and airmen fought. The way one was hidden in the hell hole at Changi, to be the first flag to fly over the liberated island of Singapore must move all Australians.

So, Mr. FitzSimons, when are you going to stop speaking English? Will you be proposing we abandon our legal system?

 
Leading republican's "rant" on the flag Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Wednesday, 09 September 2009

Leading republican Peter FitzSimons, in his own words, delivered a “rant” against the Australian National Flag in his column in The Sun Herald, “Flag’s up! We’re in like Flint” (30/9).  He returned to the subject the following week in “Tired old argument” (6/9), saying he had been  “overwhelmed with responses most of which were positive.”

He had come to the defence of the NSW Premier Nathan Rees who in his  National Flag Day message had called for a new constitution and a new flag. Mr FitzSimons says our National Flag is "ludicrous for a free standing multicultural nation".

Mr. FitzSimons dismissed  those who criticised  the Premier as the “usual suspects...curmudgeonly royal grovellors (Hullo Professor Flint)”.

He  claims the movement for flag change has now "gone mainstream". This is because The Age supports the campaign. Many Melbourne readers would draw the opposite conclusion, pointing to The Age's declining circulation and influence.

In the meantime, The Age, with the true courage of its convictions, continues to appear under a version of the Royal Coat of Arms.


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Incidentally, don't try to find Mr. FitzSimons' column on the internet. The newspaper doesn't post it there .

A mischievous colleague quips, “ You can understand why.”

The next week the newspaper published three letters in reply , one in support and two against, perhaps  indicating  the ratio of supportive to opposing mail.



...readers react...





Rosemary O’ Brien (Hands off our flag”) of Georges Hall, NSW, wrote that “it’s not only Professor David Flint who thinks our flag is a pretty wonderful piece of cloth.”

“When Premier Rees rather off-handedly suggested its possible replacement all hell broke loose, not from Flintites, but the young, the middle ages and the superior-aged.”

“Using this current storm to ridicule an old enemy is to carelessly distance yourself from the prevailing winds.”

Janet Crlk of Bateau Bay, NSW, said: “Peter FitzSimons is at it once again. Here in the midst of a recession with the cost of living going through the roof, climate change and war, and he advocates new constitutional arrangements and a new flag.”

“’A multicultural nation of the 21st century’? Did he ever stop to think where the majority came from? They came from countries where republicanism or dictators reigned supreme.”

“ Why did they come? They came because they saw Australia, a Commonwealth country under the Westminster system, as safe, secure and law-abiding, offering a future for themselves and their children.”


“I am neither a curmudgeon nor a royal groveller. I’m intelligent enough to know I’m well off under our present system.”



....Peter FitzSimons considered response: ”you idiots”...  

 

 Mr. FitzSimons last major entry into republicanism and flag changing was as the person who conceived the Mate for a Head of State campaign, which failed spectacularly.

 He dismisses those who oppose him on flag change as “idiots.”

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 He says that of all the “ludicrous” reasons for keeping our Australian National Flag, “ the most intellectually unsustainable one is ‘because our soldiers fought under the flag’” .

Unlike some ultra flag changers who pretend our soldiers did not fight under the flag, he accepts the historical truth.  But, he says, they weren’t fighting to “preserve Australia in aspic”.



...the flag at Changi..



The fact is some of our soldiers went to extraordinary lengths for the flag. When Singapore was finally  liberated from the Japanese in 1945, the very first flag to fly over the island  was the Australian Flag.

This flag had been  hidden in the terrible POW camp at Changi. You can imagine the risk of doing that, and what would have happened if the guards had found it.

This is something which the Mr. FitzSimons should ponder.

That Flag is now framed and held at the headquarters of the Returned and Services League, Canberra, with this plaque:  "This important artefact was concealed in Changi Prison by Captain Strawbridge MBE, from 1942-1945. It was raised over the gates of the prison, the day of formal liberation in September 1945."

And Mr. FitzSimons wants us to abandon and dishonour this Flag.

 

 
Flag: broadside on opposition leader Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Friday, 04 September 2009

Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull is entitled to change his mind. Formerly a director of Ausflag, the movement to change our flag, he now fully supports the retention of the Australian National Flag. He has also well and truly put a politicians’ republic on the back burner – not in this reign, not unless there is a consensus on the model – not unless the opposition is minimal.

“But NOT that everyone's quite ready to fall in love with Mal just yet,” writes James Jeffrey in The Australian’s popular Strewth column (4/8).

At least not Ausflag executive director Harold Scruby, who's keen to give the Opposition Leader a good birching for his ‘obsequious’ suggestion the Australian flag was chosen by the people,” he continues.

Australian Flag: Review of Reviews
[ The journal which intitated the competition ]






...flag changer attack..


 

“Pointing out that the flag was chosen by British colonial authorities and approved by Edward VII, Scruby accuses Turnbull of having done ‘another Gretch’".

“But Scruby is only getting warmed up: ‘Since losing the republican referendum, for which he blamed everyone else, including the prime minister, instead of his own flawed model, Mr Turnbull has done a volte-face and become a veritable closet Pom. (Ow!) He now believes that Australia, an independent sovereign nation, should wait for the Queen to die before we can become a republic. And he's had a momentous and epiphanic love affair with the Australian flag, falling head over heels for the Union Jack.’”

“Scruby thunders on in style, but we're sadly out of space.”

Actually the Australian Flag was not chosen by the ‘ British Colonial authorities’ as Mr. Scruby claims . It was certainly approved by The King –acting on advice.



...the facts about our Flag..




 As the excellent site of the Australian National Flag Association (ANFA) points out, early in 1901 and soon after Federation, Australia’s First Prime Minister, Edmund Barton announced the details of the Commonwealth Government’s unique competition for the design of a "federal" Australian flag (Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No 27).

The Review of Reviews for Australasia, a Melbourne journal, had already initiated an Australian flag competition in 1900, and it was agreed that the entries received for this  would be accepted in the Government’s competition. In all 32,823 entries were subsequently received.
Now Sir Edmund Barton could hardly be described as a “British Colonial authority”, as Mr. Scruby alleges. His government had the confidence of the House of Representatives elected by the Australian people. In fact he insisted that the process be Australian. He said “The award of the Board (of Judges) will be final and the prize given in accordance with their decision, even if the design be not accepted by the Imperial authorities (in Great Britain)." Then on 3 September 1901(now Australian National Flag Day) Prime Minister Barton announced the winning design of the government’s flag competition at a public ceremony in Melbourne.

Five entrants who had submitted similar designs were to share the honour of being declared the designers of Australia’s own flag. They were: Ivor Evans, a fourteen-year-old schoolboy from Melbourne; Leslie John Hawkins, a teenager apprenticed to a Sydney optician; Egbert John Nuttall, a Melbourne architect; Annie Dorrington, an artist from Perth; and William Stevens, a ship’s officer from Auckland, New Zealand.

The Commonwealth Government and the Review of Reviews for Australasia provided ₤75 each and the Havelock Tobacco Company added ₤50 to this making a total of ₤200 prize money, a considerable amount at the time. The five winners received ₤40 each.





....the Flag is raised and formally approved..




Australia’s new flag of "Stars and Crosses" was raised for the first time at approximately 2.30 pm. Featuring the Southern Cross, Union Jack and Commonwealth Star on a dark blue field the large flag about 11 metres long, fluttered magnificently from the mast on the main dome of the Royal Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne - the site of the first Federal Parliament.

It was on 20 February 1903 that The King - Emperor, Edward VII, approved the design for the official Australian flag and the Australian Red Ensign for Australia’s merchant ships and private pleasure craft (Commonwealth Government Gazette No 6).

To say the Flag was chosen by the British Colonial authorities is as untrue as saying Australians did not fight under the Flag. The flag changers only damage their cause by relying on myth rather than sound argument.

The flag changers are not motivated by some new flag which is more beautiful, better at telling our story, and which would unite us even more. The flag changers are sadly motivated by a visceral hatred of the Australian National Flag.

As former Prime Minister Paul Keating put it, the Australian National flag “...gets up my nose.”  That of course is Mr. Keating’s problem and not the nation’s.

In any event t
he wonderful thing is that the Australian National Flag enjoys the overwhelming support of the Australian people. 

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[ Celebrating our Australian National Flag: ANFA ]

 
National Flag Day Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Thursday, 03 September 2009

Today, 3 September, has been proclaimed as Australian national Flag Day. Many of the  celebrations across the nation for the Australian National Flag Day have been organised by the Australian National Flag Association. Details may be seen on the Association’s website.

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A National Flag Day Luncheon will be held on Thursday 3rd September, at Parliament House, Hobart. 12 noon for 12:30pm.

The guest speaker is Professor David Flint. The cost is  $30.  Please contact Reg Watson, President of the Australian National Flag Association, Tasmanian Branch,  on 0409 975 587.

The sound track for the video below, Voice of the Australian Flag, comes  from the excellent audio visual resources of the  Toowoomba Branch of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

   

 
The Age campaigns for change, but not of course for The Age Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Monday, 24 August 2009

The Age continues its campaign to change the flag and our constitutional system. It was at it again on Saturday with a piece by actor and writer Peter Houghton, “Let's take a risk and flag a new identity.”

Since the nineties The Australian has ceded the title Australia’s most republican newspaper to The Age. In The Australian’s Cut and Paste (24/8) the newspaper points to something we have been talking here about for years.  

The Age is still published under a purloined version of the Royal Coat of Arms.  Actually it gives the news paper the appearance of a serious journal of record, no doubt something it wishes to keep. That doesn't stop the newspaper from demanding the nation chnage its symbols and indeed its constitutional system,

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[ Where did the Coat of Arms come from? ]


Peter Houghton's piece is predictable.  Conceding Federation may have been our greatest achievement, he says “Maybe it is, but it's not exactly the stuff of legend.”  Perhaps it isn’t- because of people like him and The Age. Our Federation – the only one of a whole continent and extraordinarily  peaceful – has been actually one of the greatest achievements in the world.  

As for the flag, he is dismissive – “ the Royal Navy ensign (Union Jack on royal blue background) of the United Kingdom” with  “twinkly bits”,  the Southern Cross and the Federal, or Commonwealth, Star.  “Is the Southern Cross the most potent symbol of Australia? Is Federation - that moment when Australian politicians asked Queen Victoria for it and she yawned and said ''OK'' - our greatest achievement?”

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[ Journal of record ]
 

“But big symbolic issues, “ he says” tend to bring out big egos hoping to be great by association. The Australian republican movement will long be remembered for the undignified hissy fits of Malcolm Turnbull and an instantaneously regal Steve Vizard. In the red corner weighing in at 84 kilograms (if you included her jewellery) was QEII.

"Prime Minister John Howard muddied the waters and the people took the safe option. It was an option that had created Magna Carta, prevailed through Reformation, Restoration, Revolution and Empire. It had seen off the Armada, Bonaparte, Hitler and even Posh Spice! Sure. But what now?”

That signals his call for a new flag.

This piece is consistent with The Age’s anti Flag republican campaign. This would probably not be supported by its readers, especially those who pay to have it delivered at home.

The Age knows that if it had the courage of its convictions, and abandoned its Royal banner, it might be the last straw for many of its readers.

 
National Flag Day; NSW Premier's gaffe Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Monday, 24 August 2009

The republican agenda has always been to shred our flag. The difference since 1999 is that the flag must wait until a politicians’ republic replaces the present constitutional system.  Until then, the republican movement says the flag is a separate issue.

Now, NSW Premier Nathan Rees has outraged organisers of the coming Australian National Flag Day  celebrations by suggesting it may be time for a new flag, according to Linda Silmalis in The Sunday Telegraph (23/8) “Nathan Rees calls for new national flag.”  

In a move that she reports has also stunned the RSL, Mr Rees made the suggestion in a personal message to Australians as part of the 3 September celebrations.

Ms. Silmalis said that while other leaders urged Australians to celebrate the importance of the flag, Mr Rees used his message to raise the prospect for a change.

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....a new constitution with a new flag...


"It is fitting that our newly-won identity and autonomy were so quickly and happily expressed within months of Federation back in 1901, and perhaps that same spirit of national pride will express itself in a new constitutional arrangements and a new flag,'' he said.

"But let that grow organically and naturally, as times change and popular sentiment evolves."Meanwhile, the flag of stars and crosses, our banner in peace and war across 108 eventful years, will continue to serve us well.''



..."grossly inappropriate," "disrespectful"...



, Australian National Flag Association president John Vaughan told the Telegraph that Mr Rees' message was entirely inappropriate"It's grossly inappropriate to express something that he has the right to express, but not as a Flag Day message,'' he said."He did it in the wrong time and the wrong place.''

Former RSL state president Rusty Priest called on Mr Rees to back off the flag.

"People have fought and died for it in numerous wars and conflicts and there is no need to change it,'' he said.

Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell told Gillian Cannon of Macquarie Live News that the Premier’s comments were disrespectful.

"I think Australia's flag is important, it's a flag that people have fought and died under protecting the freedoms we have, for the Premier to raise this attack on the flag is out of order, particularly at a time when he should be concentrating on the problems families and small businesses are facing across NSW," O'Farrell said.

"My dad was a soldier; you don't have to be the son of a soldier to understand the offence Mr Rees' comments caused to veterans who fought, and the families of those who died under the Australian flag by his suggestion that it should be changed."

 ....National Flag Day, 3 September, Hobart... 



A National Flag Day Luncheon will be held on Thursday 3rd September, at Parliament House, Hobart. 12 noon for 12:30pm. The guest speaker is Professor David Flint. The cost is  $30.  Please contact Reg Watson, President of the Australian National Flag Association, Tasmanian Branch  on 0409 975 587.




...Voice of the Australian Flag...


 

The sound track for the video below, Voice of the Australian Flag, comes I believe from the excellent audio visual resources of the  Toowoomba branch of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy.

   
 
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