Today I’ll be sharing my thoughts about the recently sparked debate concerning an Australian flag change. Before listing any opinions, let’s consider some of the main arguments on both sides.
- Respect to the Indigenous community
- New, Unique face to Australia
- Represents colonial history
- New flag could represent new Australia
- Flag was democratically elected in 1901
- Money could be better spent
- Flag represents history
- Change would show disrespect to those who fought under the flag
So these are the basic points. I think the best approach when deciding the better option is to consider whether or not the positives outweigh the benefits. Take, for example, the affirmative argument that the flag would help the indigenous community. The opposing argument would be that we could directly help the indigenous community, by using those millions towards indigenous education, ect.
I am adamant that our flag is one which does not need to be altered. The Australian flag serves its purpose by symbolising our history and unity. Our flag was democratically elected by the people back in 1901 out of thousands of other entrees. This means that the Australian people chose this flag to represent them. Many would delegitimise the election of our flag by claiming that it came from a racist and sexist period. Though true, that doesn’t mean that our flag itself is racist just because it came from an era that was. We have progressed since 1901 and so has the meaning of our flag.
The Australian flag represents our values and culture.
One of the opposing arguments is that the Union Jack on the top left corner does not represent our nation. Though it represents our history, our laws, our government, our military past, and our culture which is frankly very British.
Even if modern day Australians are becoming more multicultural and diverse, we’re still an off- shoot British nation. Most things in
Australia were given to us by the British. We speak the English language. We play British national sports such as rugby union, cricket, and soccer. We have the same educational, governmental and law structures and even our military is entirely based off the British military structure.
“But shouldn’t we include some indigenous symbolism on our flag?”
I will agree that Indigenous symbolism rightfully deserves a place on our flag as they are the original custodians of this land. However, many dismiss the already existing representation with the Southern Cross. For Australian Aborigines, The Southern Cross was a textbook of morals and stories retold around campfires. The Australian night sky was the backdrop to their existence for tens of thousands of years. In winter, the bright stars appeared and the Arnem Land tribes knew that it was time to prepare fish traps.
The southern cross has always been an important part of Indigenous culture. Thus, it would be intellectually dishonest to suggest that our flag is exclusive and racist because there are no aboriginal symbols on it. It is evident that the indigenous community is in a very bad place. Only 25% of indigenous
Australians complete year 12, and are more liklely to be
incarcerated than to complete high school.
Is anew flag going to bring these people out of their poor condition? Is a new flag going to educate Aboriginal children and lower incarceration rates? The opposing argument of progression is not valid in this case.
What the indigenous community needs is a change in their education, not in their flag. We should be directly helping the community rebuild itself instead of fighting wars that don’t need to be fought.
Rather than changing our flag, we need to change the way we perceive it and embrace it for the rich history that it holds. When it is flown at the Olympic Games it should serve as a reminder of who we were, and what nation we have become.
Great thanks for your read.
Please share any thoughts, comments or opinions.
Discussion is always welcome.