On National Flag Day, 3 September, 2008 it is appropriate to recall that the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Dr HV Evatt, told the House of Representatives in 1953 that our flag is not only “a very beautiful flag.”
He continued: “It is probably the most beautiful flag in the world.”
“Australia is the first nation in history, to not only write its own constitution, but also the first to choose its own flag in a competition where 32,000 entries were received from a population of around 3 million,” John Brett of the Toowoomba National Flag Association says in a message for National Flag Day.
Pointing out that only five other flags are older than ours, he says that the Australian Flag tells the world more about our nation than any other flag.
“Most are now colour patches” he says. “Our flag is highly symbolic.”
“The stars of the Southern Cross constellation tell the world where we are.
“The seven pointed Federal Star tells the world we are a federation of six states looking after a number of territories, represented by the seventh point.
Ivor Evans, one of the flag's designers, intended the Southern Cross to refer also to the four moral virtues ascribed to the four main stars by Dante: justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude.
“It is the Union Jack that transmits our position in time, which was the original source of strength and stability,” John Brett continued.
“Our language and all the institutions and methods that we adopted gave Australia a tremendous start, over one hundred years ago.”
He referred to the great gifts of British settlement, the rule of law, the common law, the English language, the Crown providing leadership beyond politics, our Judeo Christian principles recalled in the three crosses on the Flag, and parliamentary democracy under the Westminster system.
….republicans plan to change the Flag…
Since the referendum, most republicans have stopped talking about changing the flag.
Most say the two issues, the flag and the constitution, are unrelated.
But as The Age editorial of 20 March 2004 asked, does anyone really believe that Australia is likely to become a republic without also changing its flag?
The Age returned to the issue on 22 August 2008, in “Time to change the flag,” by Barry Everingham who on this occasion is saying what most republicans think about our flag.
“Julia Gillard aroused the anger of the monarchists recently,” he writes, “when in an interview she repeated the ALP's already stated policy on the republic.”
“Nothing new about that. But Professor David Flint, the convenor of Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy, once more clutched at a straw.” “Gillard didn't mention the flag but Flint thundered: what new flag is planned for this republic?
“ He then claimed that when Rudd and his ministers appear before the flag, it is pinned back and not allowed to fall gracefully.
“Never one to let an opportunity slip by, Flint reminded Gillard and the rest of us that under the Constitution she is "one of the Queen's Ministers of State" and implied she (Gillard), not the Queen, was being disloyal in even mentioning a republic.”
I must offer my thanks to Mr. Everingham. Here is confirmation once again that the flag is on the agenda.
The only difference is most republicans would now prefer to put the issue off until after they obtain constitutional change.
Strange then that they cannot say what the changes to the constitution and the flag are to be.