MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 28 July 1997

True Reconciliation can only take place under a Truly Australian Flag

True Reconciliation Can Only Take Place Under a Truly Australian Flag

The Chairman of ATSIC, Mr Gatjil Djerrkura OAM, said today:

"There can be no true reconciliation with the indigenous people of Australia while the Union Jack remains on the Australian flag."

At a Media Conference in Sydney today to announce that ATSIC had recently decided to support the Ausflag campaign for a truly Australian flag, and that Mr Djerrkura had joined the Ausflag Board, Mr Djerrkura said:

"To the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Union Jack is a constant reminder of oppression, domination, genocide and dispossession. There are people within our society who are using the current flag to increase divisions within our community.

"We are seeking a flag of unity and healing under which all Australians are represented equally. We call upon the Government and the people of Australia to share our vision and join the reconciliation process in designing and proclaiming our own flag."


Ausflag′s Letter to ATSIC

The ATSIC Board of Commissioners
WODEN ACT 2606


Dear Commissioners

A New Australian Flag - The True Symbol Of Reconciliation

Ausflag seeks the cooperation and formal support of ATSIC in the creation and adoption of a truly Australian flag. The reasons include:

  • The Australian flag is now one of the most divisive national flags in the western world, supported by less than half the population.

  • The Australian flag is a symbol of colonisation and subordination. It is not a symbol of independence, sovereignty and nationhood.

  • Aboriginal people had no choice in the current Australian flag which was proclaimed in 1954, as Aborigines were not entitled to vote until 1967.

  • The current flag gives Britain pride of place on the flag and falsely suggests that the British were the first inhabitants of Australia.

  • A former ATSIC Deputy Chairman, Mr Sol Bellear made the following comments: "Aboriginal reconciliation can never be achieved unless there is a new Australian flag without the Union Jack... The flag was used to commit racial genocide in the name of the king... We feel that particularly the Union Jack within the flag signifies a note of racial superiority, suggesting that the country was founded with the Union Jack and the British."

  • A recent Herald-AGB McNair Poll found that 66% of Australians favoured the incorporation of elements of the Aboriginal flag in a new Australian flag.

A truly Australian flag, such as the national flags of the United States, Canada and South Africa (each formerly containing the Union Jack), representing the equality of all Australian citizens, subordinate to no other person or nation, will be the catalyst which will become the unequivocal symbol of Reconciliation, sovereignty, independence and nationhood.

In order to find a truly Australian flag, Ausflag will launch the "The Australian Flag - Professional Design Competition and Exhibition" within the next two weeks. Details are attached.

We seek your endorsement of this project and look forward to the involvement of your many talented designers.

We also invite the Chairman of ATSIC, Mr Gatjil Djerrkura, to become a Director of Ausflag in order to assist us with the process of ensuring a truly Australian flag flies over Australia by the turn of the century. A list of the Board of Ausflag is attached.

Imagine the Day of Reconciliation, when a truly Australian Flag rises above us all; a flag of unity and reconciliation, expressing equal recognition and status for all the people and cultures who now inhabit this great continent of ours.

Due to previous engagements, our Co-Chairman, Mr Nick Greiner sends his apologies for being unable to attend your meeting. We thank you very much for the privilege of addressing the ATSIC Board of Commissioners.

With kind regards

(signed)

Harold C W Scruby
Executive Director

18 June 1997


Reply from Gatjil Djerrkura, ATSIC Chair

Mr Harold Scruby
Ausflag Limited
NEUTRAL BAY NSW 2089


Dear Mr Scruby,

Thank you for addressing the Board of Commissioners at the recent Board meeting in Canberra.

I am pleased to advise you that the Board endorsed the Ausflag project and agreed that I become a Director of Ausflag.

Yours sincerely

(signed)

Gatjil Djerrkura OAM
Chairman

26 June 1997