MEDIA RELEASE

Sunday 1 December 1996

Robert Webster joins Ausflag Board

The Hon Robert Webster, a former National Party Minister in the Greiner and Fahey Governments will become a Director of Ausflag at its AGM on Monday 2 December 1996. Mr Webster will join Nick Greiner and other prominent Australians who support a change in the national flag.

"After watching the Atlanta Olympics, particularly those events where either New Zealand or Great Britain shared the podium with Australia, I was convinced that Australia must have a flag symbolising its own distinct identity in time for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games." Mr Webster said.

"I support a new Australian flag in the same way I supported the change in our National Anthem from God Save The Queen to Advance Australia Fair. At the Sydney Olympics Australia should have a flag which signals to the billions of TV viewers around the world an unambiguous symbol of nationhood."

"Canada, a constitutional monarchy like Australia, changed its flag successfully over thirty years ago and the red and white maple leaf enjoys instant recognition. Of the fifty three nations in the Commonwealth, of which 31 are republics and 22 are monarchies, all have their own individual flags except Australia and New Zealand who both still retain the Union Jack on a blue ensign."

"I will be urging my friends in the Federal Government, particularly John Howard and Tim Fischer, to take the lead in promoting an open, vigorous and publicly funded debate on the subject of a new flag in order to give Australians the best possible choices on which to vote in a plebiscite (similar to the National Anthem plebiscite in 1977), preferably at the next federal election." Mr Webster concluded.