February 18

Adman flag changer


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.




Mr Howcroft sees the flag as no more than an advertisement.” If briefed to produce a design that would assist in strengthening Brand Australia, I bet there isn’t a creative director in the land who would approve the flag in its current design,” he declares. “It would be returned to the creative department with a stern message to go back to the drawing board.” This is a very clear indication that Mr HowCroft and people like him should be kept well away from anything at all to do with our heritage.  He doesn’t seem to realise that as with our Constitution, our flag was designed in Australia, by Australians and chosen by Australians. It was not, as he suggests, imposed by the British. Nor were with the rules on the use of the Red and Blue Ensigns imposed unilaterally by Sir Robert Menzies. In fact they were agreed and then submitted to Parliament where the leader of the opposition, Dr Evatt described our Australian flag is “a beautiful flag, probably the most beautiful in the world.”Spectator Australia suffers from a significant deficiency and that is there is no way of commenting on some of the contributions.  One contributor would, I suspect, have attracted many furious responses. He was, the former leader of the opposition Mark Latham, who conveniently happily fell out with the editor, Tom Switzer – as he apparently does with just about everybody else. So he doesn’t appear any more.Fortunately, the London part of The Spectator on 16 February 2030 carried the following letter from Mr Barry Gawne from Melbourne. This balances Mr Howcroft’s full page promotion of the Ausflag campaign. (Fortunately there was a photograph of the Ausflag monstrosity.)


The Spectator article (Our Flag is an Ad, 27 January) has the dubious distinction of being wrong in just about everything. The Commonwealth Blue Ensign and the Commonwealth Red iEnsign were gazetted in 1983, the Blue Ensign being designated for official and nasal use and the Red Ensign being designated for the merchant Navy.

 Except for a minor change to the Federation Star in 1908, these flags the same as those in use today.

Because of the widespread use of both bags, Menzies recommended in 1941 that the Blue Ensign be adopted as the national flag, a decision endorsed by Chifley in 1947 and passed into law as the Flag Act 1953.

The suggestion that Menzies unilaterally change the flag because it was red is pretty silly, considering that the British Empire was coloured red wall maps until at least the 1970s. As for being ‘aggressively anti-Communist’, Australia was an ally of the Soviet Union in 1941.

 Russel Howcroft mentions that only three national flags contain a union Jack. On my count there are 18, plus one American State flag (Hawaii).

The idea that the national flag should be used as an advertising gimmick, subject to change at the whim of the adman, is so ludicrous that it is surprising that a journal like the spectator Australia should run it


Keep Our Flag

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