Reg.Watson condemns the burning of our Australian Flag in Canberra on 27 January, a sequel to the Australia Day riot. Mr. Watson, from the Tasmanian division of the Australian National Flag Association was being interviewed by radio station 2GB for the Macquarie Broadcasting Network. This can be heard here.
…they served under the Australian Flag…
A caller to a broadcast on the same radio station, 2GB, John, spoke about this outrage on the Chris Smith show on 15 February, 2012. John was at the fall of Singapore and was captured by the Japanese. He worked as a slave labourer on the Burma railroad and in the coal mines in Japan. He was subjected to extraordinary brutality. He was beaten regularly and on one occasio, his arm was broken by the guards.
Every morning the 500 Australians in the 500 Americans who worked in the Japanese coal mines would have to march out to the mine. As they came to the guardhouse they had to bow low to the Japanese flags flying on the two flagpoles.
They came to hate them. After 15 August 1945 when the Japanese left, Australian and American flags were raised in the place of their flags.
For him the Australian flag meant one thing -freedom. He was disgusted by the burning of the Australian flag in Canberra on 27 August. The presenter, Chris Smith, said that senior members of the indigenous community had distanced themselves from this. John said, in a voice weakened by age and the terrible things that happened to him as a prisoner of war, "Yes, but nobody has been punished.”
Another caller to the same program, whose father was also a slave in the Japanese coal mines, wondered how much the flag burners and flag changers realised how close Australia had come to being under the Japanese flag.
John's story can be heard here.