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.
ANZAC Day is the day when Australians and New Zealanders remember those who died and fought for their country in the many wars in which we have been involved.
Across the two nations, marches and services are held to honour the call to our nations, Lest We Forget.
This video begins With the Last Post, followed by a reading of the Ode of Remembrance from Laurence Binyon's poem, "For the Fallen",
This begins this report of the ANZAC Day march in Sydney, 2013. The streets were filled with people young and old, some having come from the Dawn Service which attracted many thousands.
...Her Excellency marches...
Once again led by Her Excellency the Governor, Professor Marie Bashir – having just flown back from Canberra where she attended the dawn service for the national capital – the three and half hour long march wound its way through the City of Sydney.
Her Excellency, attended by Her Aides-de-Camp from each of the services,, was preceded by a procession of cars and taxis carrying disabled veterans, As they do every year, the pipes and drums of the Scots College Sydney followed leading with the familiar old Australian tune, On the Road to Gundagai. And there was a glorious sight – 300 massed flags carried by various young people followed by the New South Wales mounted police. Founded in 1825 by Gov Brisbane, they are the oldest continuous mounted group in the world.
Her Excellency followed and then came the leaders of the New South Wales division of the Returned Services League, whose task it is to organise the annual march.
Once again this was a very moving occasion. Lest We Forget.
In the April May issue of the magazine for seniors, 50 Something, Rosemary Desmond talks with journalist, author and prominent republican flag changer Peter FitzSimons. On one page there’s a very nice full page photograph of Peter FitzSimons and his family outside Mawson’s house in Antarctica.
Among the questions are “You’ve interviewed every Australian Prime Minister from Gough Whitlam to Julia Gillard. Who was the most s memorable and why?”
Peter FitzSimons chooses Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating who is “an absolute standout.... He put us on the road to a republic, even though we have not yet achieved it.”
Another question is the inevitable one, whether, after the end of the reign, Australia will become a republic.
‘We have to become a republic.…tomorrow,” he insists. “ I find it completely ludicrous that in the 21st century, we are still stuffing around with system that has an English woman is the head of state,” ignoring the fact that the Governor–General is head of state.
He says he would simply “change one thing. The Prime Minister selects the Governor- General and instead of getting the Queen to sign off on that, we should get the Australian Parliament to sign off on it and everything proceeds as before.”
But, Mr FitzSimons, millions and millions of dollars of taxpayers funds were diverted from such matters as yet schools and hospitals for the republicans to come up with me he will be made with just that model. Most of the politicians and the media barracked for it in the referendum but when it actually went to the vote, it was rejected nationally, in every state, and in 72% of electorates.
You might as well flush the millions and millions of dollars this will cost down the drain. But the republicans won't be paying. Once again it will be the taxpayers. The republicans have been very smart int pushing their costs onto the taxpayer. To date there have been twelve - twelve- votes and inquiries.
And if you read my 1999 book Cane Toad Republic, Mr. FitzSimons, you’ll see that whenever the same question has been put again in a referendum – even up to 5 times - the people have never changed their mind.
Mr FitzSimons makes two other points. Just like the former New South Wales Premier now Foreign Minister Bob Carr, he’d have the President still called Governor-General at least at the beginning. Bob Carr it isn’t a good person to follow in matters concerning the Crown. He made the disastrous error of turfing the Governor out of Government House.
This was so very unpopular Paul Keating blames it for his losing the 1996 election.
The other point is that he still wants to get rid of our Flag. He points out he is on the board of the Aussie flag trashers, AUSFLAG. Knowing the Australian people just don’t want to change their flag, their latest strategy is to try and slip in a separate sporting flag for the Olympics, the Ashes and things like that.
Mr. Allan Pigeon,President of the Queensland Branch of the Australian National Flag Association filed a meticulously argued complaint with the television regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority. They upheld the complaint and found the programme had misled the public.
[ Sir Edmund Barton, daughter Stephanie, and Lady Barton - Source Daily Telegraph ]
The rules for the competition follow:
Commonwealth of Australia Gazette Number 27 (1901)
Commonwealth of Australia
Prime Minister's Office
29th April, 1901
Design for a Federal Flag
The Government of the Commonwealth of Australia invite competitive designs for a Federal Flag, such designs to be forwarded by post or otherwise not later than the 31st May, 1901.
The designs will be judged by a Board to be appointed by the Federal Government for the purpose, and a sum of £75 will be paid to the designer of that selected as the best.
Each competitor will be required to forward two coloured sketches--one for the merchant service, and one for naval or official use--not less than 6 inches by 3 inches in size.
All designs must be indorsed on the cover "Commonwealth Flag," and must be addressed to "The Secretary to the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne."
Each design must bear a motto or nom de plume, and must be accompanied by a sealed envelope bearing on its face the motto or nom de plume with which the designer signed, and enclosing the name and address of the designer.
The successful design will be submitted to the Imperial authorities.
The award of the Board, however, will be final, and the prize will be given in accordance with their decision, even if the design be not accepted by the Imperial authorities.
Most readers of the journal Spectator Australia would have been annoyed to see in their 2013 Australia Day issue a piece by advertising executive and ABC panellist Russell Howcroft.
This was a promotion pure and simple of Ausflag’s latest act of desperation, its so-called “sporting flag”. This would be an embarrassment even as a beach towel.
It has an enormous Southern Cross on a blue background, no Federation Star and two clashing over- wide stripes, green and orange, on one side.
You will appreciate that the colours don’t exactly go with one another. It is a ghastly mess
The fact is that Ausflag is obviously exasperated that since it began its campaign to shred our Australian flag change, support for the flag has only strengthened.
So the latest tactic is to slip in this sort of sporting flag to be used, they say, only on sporting occasions. This is of course just the thin edge of the wedge.
If they ever persuaded the nation to fly this monstrosity on sporting occasions, they’d soon be campaigning for it to replace the Australian flag.
Their unsubtle argument is that people get confused by the similarities between the Australian and New Zealand flags and the fact that the union Jack appears on both.
It doesn’t seem to matter that European tricolours are very confusing indeed and certainly lacked the individuality of the Australian, New Zealand and British flags.The republicans at Ausflag couldn’t care less what Australia’s flag is, provided it doesn’t have the detested Union Jack on it. In the same way the the only thing they can agree on about the Constitution is that the foundation institutions, the Australian Crown, must be stripped from it.
A former chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, and its National Campaign Director during the referendum, has come out and confirmed what everyone knows.
The republican agenda is both to bring on some sort of politicians’ republic and to change the Flag.
Greg Barns still speaks for the ARM as the links to videos at the foot of this report demonstrate. He writes writes on the ABC website The Drum that to be fully integrated into Asia, Australia and New Zealand must fundamentally change their constitutions and shred their flags.
Why should we do this? Because Mr. Barns has decided, unilaterally, that they say to Asia say to Asia that “we hanker after the colonial past.” Presumably our attachment to the rule of law, the Westminster system and to our language, do not create a similar impression.
I have travelled in Asia. My mother was born there. I have never been told by any Asian, ministers, judges, editors , journalists or anybody else that we hanker after our colonial past, that we must change our constitution or shred our flag.Mr. Barns and the ARM are “verballing” all Asia to slip through their agenda to ram a politicians’ republic down our throats and to shred our Australian Flag.
Mr. Barns says that when it comes to Asia, do not “walk the walk” -whatever that means.
And does “full integration” mean something like the European Union as Kevin Rudd proposes?
Let us hope that before we are rushed into that the people are first asked in a referendum whether they want to enter such a union.
The ABC promoted shredding our flag and changing to a politicians’ republic in a curious segment in its flagship current affairs programme, Q&A.
Tim Levinson is also known as Urthboy, a hip hop artist and manager of record label, Elefant Traks. He appeared on the ABC’s Q&A programme on 4 February 2013, the first for the year.Other panellists were Coalition politician Christopher Pyne, former Coalition politician Amanda Vanstone, Labor politician David Bradbury , and journalist , author and feminist Anne Summers.
Although moving to a politicans’ republic was not mentioned on the programme the chairman Tony Jones did so in a special mention at the end when he invited Mr. Levenson to sing in an American accent a ditty entitled “Empire Tags.”
Most if not all members of the panel are republicans. Ms. Vanstone and Mr. Pyne are outspoken supporters of some form of politicans' republic. Certainly, no known defender of our constitution or flag was there.
Readers may wonder why the ABC is promoting these issues.
The republican flag changers say our soldiers never fought under the Australian Flag.
Well, this is a post card of a 1917 scene on the battlefield in Belgium. The original post card was titled; "The Battle of Polygon Wood From Original Drawing by A. Pearse, War Artist."
The following description was printed on the reverse of the card:
"One of the most inspiring and historic events during the Battle of Polygon Wood (Belgium), was the planting of the Australian Flag on Anzac Redoubt (German Pill-box), at 7.15 a.m., on September 20th, 1917, by Lieutenant A V L Hull, 18th Battalion.
The republican flag changers are proposing a new Australian “sporting flag”. They say it is to distinguish us from other nations in sporting competitions.
This is just an excuse, and a weak one. There are a significant number of countries which have a tricolour as their flag. Many people are unable to distinguish these, and few can identify the flags.
The idea that a country would have a different flag for sporting events is bizarre. The flag changers realize that the existing flag has enormous popularity and they’d never win a vote to shred it. So they are trying to get something up, anything even what is little more than a garish beach towel as the thin edge of the wedge.
The flag they are targeting has been with us from the year in which the Commonwealth of Australia was born. Is the flag under which Australians have served, fought and died
One of the most touching examples of the love Australians have for their flag was the way in which prisoners of war kept in appalling conditions at Changi put together Australian flags. Had they been found the penalty would have been death. And the first flag which flew over Singapore on her liberation was an Australian flag from Changi.
The hatred that the Republican flag changers have for our flag is incomprehensible and dishonours the memory of so many Australians.
This is a report by Monique Shafter on the ABC current affairs programme, 7.30, broadcast nationally on 24 January, 2013.
If you are not already receiving it, why not subscribe to ACM’s regular and free report of news and views, “The Column “. Just go to http://bit.ly/WxYCoV
You can also use that address to invite a friend or two to subscribe - just enter their emails and we’ll do the rest.
And when you are celebrating Australia Day tomorrow, do honour the Australian Flag which is once again under attack from the republican flag changers.
They have released a "sporting flag" which is just the thin edge of the wedge to shred our Flag , one which flew over the first Parliament and under which Australians have served , fought and died. ( We shall be posting an ABC 730 report on this soon)
So let remember all those who fought and died under the Flag so that we could remain our beloved free and democratic Commonwealth of Australia.
The scene above is of Australia Day,1988. This was the Bicentennial First Fleet Re-enactment which the Hawke Government tried to stop. But The Queen and Prince Phillip lent their support.
When the Fleet was stranded in Rio, the government refused to help. As a result .of an appeal from Sydney radio station 2GB, the public raised the necessary funds.
Of all the ports the Fleet visited, it was only in Sydney where they were forbidden from going ashore. But when the Fleet did arrive, the republican politicans rushed not to share in the glory, but to seize it.
Australians fought under the Australian Flag in the First World War - although republican flag changers claim that they didn't. But facts are facts. In this First World War design, we see an image of Australian soldiers with the Australian Flag against an arrangement showing the flags of our allies in what came to be known as the Great War.
How could we obey the instructions of the republican flag changers and betray the memory of those who served under it?
Most of those flag changers cannot even say what they want to replace it. Just as they hate the Australian Crown in the constitution, they hate the Australian Flag. As former Prime Minister Paul Keating once said, the Australian Flag "gets up my nose." He even denigrated it when he was overseas - representing Australia.
He would not have agreed with the great leader of the Australian Labor Party, Dr H V Evatt, who said in 1953:
“The flag that is now Australia's national flag, which is based on the Blue Ensign, is a very beautiful flag. It is probably the most beautiful flag in the world.”