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ACM Home arrow Flag: Keep The Flag

Flag: Keep The 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. 

 

 



Defending the Flag...Tonight Print E-mail
Keep Our Flag
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
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
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
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
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
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
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
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
Written by Professor David Flint AM   
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.


Image


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.”

Image

 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.

 

 
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