Does anyone really believe that Australia is likely to become a republic without also changing its flag, asked The Age in its editorial on Saturday, 20 March 2004. This shock admission is being contrasted with the usual republican position. When republicans realised that Australians love their Flag some resigned from Ausflag and said the Flag would not change under a republic. Yes, and pigs may fly. While we disagree with The Age on the need for change, we congratulate the Editor on his honesty. "The presence of the Union Jack in the national flag would seem even more anomalous in a republican Australia than it does now." The Age claimed. Pointing out that while the Mr Latham had, as Leader of the Opposition indicated he would try to change our Constitution, The Age regretted that he had been silent on the Flag.
Now we did ask this question about Mr Latham in our Hot News of 17 January-he doesn't want to change our Flag too, does he? It is clear that this was once his position. Now, The Age demands that he revive this. After all, says the Age, the Empire is gone. So should the Flag. Admitting the change brigade could not, and one suspects never will be able to agree on a new flag, and that many if not most of the proposed new flags are inappropriate or even silly, the Editor thinks we should get rid of the Union Jack. Then we would only have the Southern Cross, which he says reminds us of the Eureka Flag which is the symbol of nationhood! (We have recently warned there would be many calls to revere the Eureka Stockade and exaggerations of its importance in our history) Incidentally, The Age dismisses the Union Jack as indicative of our history. It is only an imperial symbol. Strange for a newspaper which. flaunts the Royal Coat of Arms on its first page and above the editorial!
We did like the following congratulatory letter sent to The Age:
It has always been likely that the pushers of the republic drug would wish also to change the Australian flag, though in the whole of the mendacious and deceitful campaign I cannot recall having seen such a frank submission as yours (Editorial, 20/3). Congratulations. There is certain logic in the intention. But it, and the arguments you use, are likely to cripple your main objective, if opinion polls over many years are to be believed. Your animosity towards the empire which no longer exists suggests that you might profit from a reading of David Malouf’s recent "Quarterly Essay". Meanwhile, by all means keep up your unedifying but (I trust) counter-productive good work.
Congratulations, Mr Knox. What more can be said?