We are used to republicans finding strange reasons for constitutional change. As Sir David Smith reveals, Al Grassby blamed unemployment and the brain drain under the Hawke and Keating governments on the Australian Crown. His statue graces the national capital. Michael Lynch, just appointed to the ABC board, blamed the Crown for stifling artistic talent.

Now the nation’s leading republican newspaper, The Age, says (7/4) that the government’s $35 million campaign to have us elected to a temporary seat on the UN Security Council could be blocked unless we change our flag. This is of course the Flag under which our soldiers, sailors and airmen fought.

Admitting it did not stop us winning four previous terms, The Age’s diplomatic editor Daniel Flitton says we are being  held back by a “symbolic factor — our national flag.”  He says that “every time the Union Jack postage stamp appears at a meeting, other countries must wonder at the wisdom of giving Britain a second seat.”

And I thought the reason is the ability of the European Union to outbid us for all those votes which are effectively up for sale. I suppose our government is persuaded that sending our Head of State to various African countries, most of which don’t even have Australian diplomats in residence, will ensure their votes are in the bag.  

At the last election at which we stood, Richard Butler assured the government  that he had rounded up the the votes.