The Problem of Changing the Flag of Australia

Discussions on the change of the flag of Australia is a dispute over the possibility to remove the Union Jack flag from the canton of Australia or a complete change of the flag. There are two groups involved in the debate: Ausflag (founded in 1981), supporting the change of the flag, and the Australian National Flag Association (founded in 1983), which advocates for leaving the flag as it is. The main argument for leaving the flag is a historical priority, while the argument for changing is based on the fact that the current flag does not accurately reflect the status of Australia as an independent and multicultural state.

Arguments for Changing the Flag

Advocates of changing the flag of Australia tend to deploy the following ideas:

  • The flag does not have a distinctive ability, as it contains the flag of another state.
  • The modern flag does not fully reflect the status of Australia as an independent state. The presence of the flag of Great Britain suggests that Australia is a colonian territory. In addition to the Australian flag, only on the flags of New Zealand, Fiji, and Tuvalu, which are independent states, there is an image of the British flag. Other states of the Commonwealth of Nations have long changed the design of their flags, removing from it the image of the flag of Great Britain, however remaining monarchical states, which are headed by the British monarch.
  • Reflecting only the colonial British past of Australia, the national flag of the country is an anachronism that does not reflect the multinationalism and pluralism of society. In particular, on the modern flag, there is no mention of Australian aborigines, for many of which the flag of Great Britain is a symbol of colonial oppression and deprivation of their property.
  • Although the design of the flag was developed by four Australians and one New Zealander and was selected as a result of an open competition, it was approved by the British Admiralty.

Arguments against Changing the Flag

In response to increasing Australian interest in the proposed flag options, supporters of the current flag have formed the National Australian Flag Association to counter attempts to change the flag. Here is the list of arguments for the current flag:

  • The modern flag is unique; it reflects Australia and its status as an independent state. The flag of Great Britain symbolizes the historical past of Australia, the country's membership in the Commonwealth of Nations, and reflects the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy.
  • The modern flag does not reflect the country's dependence on the UK.
  • The flag is a popular symbol that is widely used by Australians of all races and nationalities. None of the proposed flag options has such support as the modern version.

The question of the Australian flag has been controversial for a long time. Undoubtedly, the final decision should depend only on the position of the majority of the population.

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