Here's a splendid defence of our flag by our young executive director Jai Martinkovits in the Australia Day edition of the Dubbo Weekender:
If there is one thing that unites Australians young and old, it’s a love of their Flag and all that it represents.
In fact, in a recent poll, Roy Morgan Research put support among the youngest age group, 14 to 17, as high as 80%, with 7% undecided. And support across all age brackets was found to be 69%, with 5% undecided.
This weekend, Aussies right across the country are celebrating our national birthday – Australia Day. As well as appreciating a good excuse for a holiday, Aussies will take a moment to reflect on our glorious way of life, which so many of our forebears fought and died to protect.
It has been said that the success of any nation – or, shall we say, it’s way of life – is dependent upon the quality of its institutions. And it’s those very institutions and values which have so clearly allowed our nation to prosper, which are encapsulated in our National Flag of “Stars and Crosses”.
It is truly the people’s Flag – proudly adopted in 1901 following the results of a public competition, which attracted more than 32,000 entries.
The three crosses, St. George, St. Andrew and St. Patrick serve to represent the institutions we inherited and which we have ourselves built upon; including the rule of law, the English Language, our Judeo-Christian values, and leadership beyond politics in The Crown.
The constellation of the Southern Cross indicates our geographical location in the southern hemisphere. The constellation of stars relates to the various indigenous legends and serves to remind us of our rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage.
Despite this, republicans have long sought to shred our beautiful symbol of national unity, offering a plethora of meaningless beach towel designs to replace it.
In fact, in the mid 90’s, the Australian Republican Movement sponsored an exhibition, “Flagging the Republic”, which showcased a range of potential Flag designs, including the very tasteful words “F*** Off Back To Fag Land” on a plain grey background.
Perhaps reluctantly recognising the tremendous support the Flag enjoys, The Australian Republican Movement now tell us they don’t want to change the Flag. But a leopard can’t change its spots. Australians can be rest assured that as sure as night follows day, a politicians’ republic will bring with it a change of Flag.
What is curious is that republicans – in contrast to the great majority of Australians – seem to constantly battle with their sense of identity. Perhaps psychologists could label this phenomenon?
Most recently, the Australians Republican Movement undertook a quasi-rebranding, with the view to starting a “new conversation” about our national identity. This has proven nothing more than a desperate attempt to keep a dead issue alive. The fact is, Australia is already a form of republic – a republic under The Crown, or a Crowned Republic. The only other form of republic is a politicians’ republic. And in the 1999 referendum, Australians made it perfectly clear, in 100% of States and in 73% of Federal electorates, that they won’t have a bar of that!
So whilst republicans will undoubtedly set out on yet another opportunistic and divisive campaign to divide the nation on our day of national unity, chuck another snag on the barbie and enjoy the one symbol which most brings us all together. And remember that any worthwhile change to further empower the people (as opposed to the political class) can be achieved through incremental change to our constitution.
[Jai Martinkovits is co-author with David Flint of Give Us Back Our Country, now in its second edition and published by Connor Court]