MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday 24 January 1995

Australia Day Flag Display

Ausflag will be flying 30 distinctively Australian flags along South Dowling Street, north from Moore Park Road to south at Dacey Avenue (South Sydney) and in George Street (city), corner of Barrack Street, for two weeks from Australia Day 1995, Mr Harold Scruby, Executive Director of Ausflag said today.

The flags represent two of the more popular designs currently being promoted by Ausflag as a potential truly Australian flag. The first is a blue and white three-panelled flag, featuring a blue southern cross on a white ground, between two blue panels, representing the oceans surrounding the great island continent. The second is a red, yellow and black flag (the same colours as the Aboriginal flag), featuring a black kangaroo leaping across the sun. This flag was the most popular of several designs surveyed by AGB McNair in December 1993, Mr Scruby said.

Ausflag believes it is vital that we have our own flag in time for the 2000 Olympics. Three months prior to the turn of the century, the entire world will be looking at Australia. For two weeks, our flag will be beamed onto billions of television sets around the world.

When Canada hosted the Olympics in 1976 and the Commonwealth Games in 1994, the world did not know or care whether Canada was a monarchy or a republic. Canada remains a monarchy today. What the world saw was a mature, sovereign, independent nation. When sportsmen and women win medals at Olympic Games, their nation′s hearts do not swell with pride because their representatives are either from a monarchy or a republic. The emotion comes from the raising of the national flag and the playing of the national anthem, Mr Scruby added.

Should we enter the Olympic stadium in 2000 under a British colonial ensign, we will be signalling to the world that we haven′t grown up and remain dependent on Great Britain. Our chance to be a leading nation in our region will be diminished. Leading nations do not have flags which reflect subservience to other nations. Even Hong Kong will have dropped the Union Jack by 1997.

Additionally, the loss of opportunity to launch our own identifiable symbol onto the world′s stage will be immeasurable. We couldn′t afford the international advertising we will be getting free of charge. Instead of displaying a symbol which could assist enormously in promoting Australian products and exports throughout the world, we will be flaunting a symbol which to the rest of the world looks like a British branch office, Mr Scruby remarked.

Mr Scruby said the display of these flags will hopefully inspire Australians of all ages to think about the designs they favour for a new Australian flag. We will have our own flag one day, it is not a matter of if, but when. But there will never be a better opportunity than the 2000 Olympics.