An ARM spokesman recently told listeners to Sydney’s highest rating radio station, 2GB, that changing to a republic had nothing to do with the Flag. He failed to mention the brochure put out during the republican referendum about an exhibition of new flags, most of which were pretty awful. The brochure bears the logo of the republican movement and a statement of it support for the exhibition of new flags. To repeat, the Australian republican movement indicated clearly its support for this exhibition.
One of the new flags proposed to replace our beautiful flag had this slogan emblazoned – in full – on it :
“ F*** OFF BACK TO FAGLAND”
The spokesman, NSW convener of the republican movement Julian Tol, telephoned radio station 2GB on Thursday morning on 23 July. This was immediately after Andrew Moore had interviewed me about the recent Commonwealth Poll. Becoming a politicans' republic has nothing to do with the Flag, he claimed.
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?
…Labor and the Flag…
The Age returned to the issue on 22 August 2008, in “Time to change the flag,” by Barry Everingham. “Julia Gillard aroused the anger of the monarchists recently,” he wrote, “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. ( They dropped this rather infantile practice soon soon after)
“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.”
When this opinion piece appeared, I offered my thanks to Mr. Everingham. He had confirmed that not only was some form of politicians’ republic on the agenda, but so was the flag.
The differences from 1999 are two. First, most republicans would now prefer to put off changing the flag until after they have obtained constitutional change. Second, they won’t reveal what changes they are secretly plotting for either the constitution or the flag.
All of the great leaders of the Australian Labor Party have been, and I suspect still are, strong supporters of the Australian Flag. (They were all constitutional monarchists. Honourable men, when they swore allegiance to the Sovereign, they intended to keep their word)As the then Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Dr HV Evatt, told the House of Representatives in 1953, 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 said in a message for National Flag Day last year.
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 said. “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.”
Well put, Mr. Brett.