Sunday 13 October 1996
The Executive Director of Ausflag, Mr Harold Scruby, announced today that the Hon Nick Greiner AC (former Premier of NSW and architect of the successful Olympics 2000 bid) has joined the Ausflag Board. During the Board meeting, the Chairman, the Hon Sir Richard Kirby AC, retired as a director and chairman and was appointed Patron. Mr Nicholas Whitlam (former Deputy Chairman) and Mr Greiner were then elected Co-Chairmen.
Mr Greiner said: "I want to assist in seeing that a truly identifiable national flag is flying over Australia in time for the 2000 Olympics. I have great respect for our British heritage, but Australia is no longer a colony of Britain. Australia is a sovereign, independent nation and it is now time that we showed the world that we have grown up. For two weeks the Australian flag will be shown on billions of TV screens around the world. We cannot afford to project the image of a country still subordinate to Britain as we move into the next millennium. We have a great opportunity to be a leading nation in our region, but leading nations do not have flags which reflect subordination to other nations. Australia and New Zealand are now the only two remaining nations out of the 53 nations in the Commonwealth to still fly post-colonial British ensigns."
Mr Greiner congratulated the Government on its Flags Amendment Bill which will require a plebiscite before the current flag can be changed. He said: "Ausflag has always campaigned for a plebiscite and when this Bill is enacted, Australians will be able to proceed with a rational debate and design program and promote viable alternatives with the knowledge that the flag will not be changed without the approval of the Australian people."
However, Mr Greiner was critical of one aspect of the Bill. He added: "I urge the Parliament to remove Section 8 of the Flags Act 1953: `Flying of the Union Jack - This Act does not affect the right or privilege of a person to fly the Union Jack.′ This section is discriminatory and superfluous. It should either refer to all foreign flags or be deleted altogether. And the appropriate time is now while the Bill is before the Parliament."