MEDIA RELEASE

Sunday 31 August 2003

Dick Smith Defaces Australian Flag

PM & RSL Requested to Demand Removal of Smith′s Face from Australian Flag - Grocery Stores Requested to Boycott Products

The Executive Director of Ausflag, Mr Harold Scruby said today: "Ausflag has requested that the Prime Minister and the RSL write to Dick Smith and demand the immediate removal of his face and logo from the Australian Flag, which appear on all his products. Ausflag has also requested that all retailers cease selling his products until such time as his advertising, labelling and promotional material are changed.

Mr Scruby quoted from the Government booklet entitled Australian Flags, released by the PM′s own Department of Awards and National Symbols. Under the heading "Flying the Australian National Flag", it states explicitly and unambiguously, (quote):

  • The flag should be treated with the respect and dignity it deserves as the national emblem.
  • When the flag is represented, for example, as an illustration for commercial or advertising purposes:
    • it should be used in a dignified manner and reproduced accurately;
    • it should not be defaced (that is, have superimposed on it printing or illustration).

Dick Smith flag

Mr Scruby added: "Whether one believes the flag should change or remain the same, the Australian Flag should be treated with respect. We are extremely surprised that those who should know and understand the traditions of vexillology and heraldry have remained silent for so long about Mr Smith′s defacement of the flag. We expect that Prime Minister Howard and Mr Rusty Priest of the RSL will waste no time in bringing this matter to Mr Smith′s attention. And Ausflag will be writing to major grocery retailers requesting an immediate boycott of Smith′s products.

"While Mr Smith′s attempts to market ′Genuine Australian Foods′ are indeed commendable, it is not necessary to deface the Australian Flag to achieve this goal. We also ask that the Prime Minister′s Department of Awards and National Symbols be far more vigilant in monitoring the behaviour of organisations which deface the Australian Flag and ensure they formally bring such matters to the attention of those organisations and the public in general," Mr Scruby said.