"Bondi waves goodbye to Aussie flag."
This was the headline in the Melbourne Herald Sun in its 2 January 2006 edition.
Steve Gee and Larissa Cummings reported that plans to fly the Australian flag over the Bondi Beach pavilion were vetoed on 13 December, 2005 because of fears the symbols could incite further racial violence on Sydney’s beaches.
The Australian flag, as well as an Aboriginal flag, were to have been provided by Wentworth Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull, who yesterday led a chorus of opposition to the move. The Sydney Daily Telegraph published an opinion piece from Mr Turnbull, which unfortunately is not on their website. However, it can be read on Mr. Malcolm Turnbull’s site.
We sent the following letter to the Telegraph on this:
Most Australians will agree with Malcolm Turnbull concerning Waverly Council’s refusal to fly the Australian Flag over the Bondi Pavilion. Formerly a director of the flag change movement, Ausflag, and sponsor of its dismal and embarrassing exhibitions of new flags, it is good to see Mr Turnbull is now an avid supporter of the Australian flag. Having recently sworn allegiance, let us hope he now also wishes to keep our tried and tested constitution.
( Actually Malcolm Turnbull did say in 1999 that “No meant No for a very long time”. According to his website, he holds to that view, arguing a referendum should not be attempted during the present reign: While he was at the meeting republican politicians held recently in an alcove at Parliament House, he argues against another referendum unless the opposition is “modest” and “unless the prospects of success are very, very high”. Reason then to keep ACM strong!)
The decision by Waverley Council has been received with understandable outrage from residents, returned servicemen, ethnic groups and the police association. Waverley Council voted six to four against the proposal, declaring Australia’s most famous beach should remain clear of flags to "remove provocation".
Mayor Mora Main and fellow Green George Copeland led a block of Labor councillors, including deputy mayor George Newhouse, Peter Moscatt and Ingrid Strewe, in vetoing the plan by Liberal councillor Joy Clayton.
The contact details for councillors are published by Waverley Council.
According to the Herald Sun, an unapologetic Cr Copeland said the council remained concerned about a repeat of the racial violence that erupted at Cronulla before Christmas.
"The previous weekend, the Cronulla riots happened and in those riots, the Australian flag was used by both sides as a symbol around which to perpetrate racial violence," he said.
"The people from Lakemba burnt the flag and the Cronulla people swathed themselves in it while pounding people.
"It was used a symbol for racial violence and we didn’t want to wave a red rag in front of either side on New Year’s Eve."
Thank heavens these politicians were not leading this nation in the Second World War.
Until next time,