In May this year – 2016- This Face book post was made…
“Now we just need to get rid of the racist Australian flag on top of state parliament and get a red one up there and my work is done.” Roz Ward
Roz Ward, Controversial Safe Schools Coalition co-ordinator and co-founder, made this facebook post on the Tuesday after the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews apologised to the gay community for past discrimination. The government then hoisted a gay-pride rainbow flag on parliament house as part of the event. Ms Ward also posted a photo of the rainbow flag on facebook along with that comment.
The Australian News paper discovered the post where he/she labelled the national flag “racist;” the exposure forced Ward into resigning from a Victorian government advisory role which he/she had held.
The Australian asked Ms Ward and the Victorian government for a comment on the post, given she was implementing Safe Schools and advising the government on LGBTI issues.
It was in response to that request, that her resignation was announced.
It seemed that the Australian News Paper was aware that the attack on the Flag could have been considered as an act of treason, or at the very least irresponsible and a very non Australian act, unfitting for the position he/she held on a government advisory panel.
History of the Australian Flag
The colonies of Australia federated to become a single Commonwealth in 1901. That year, Australia’s first Prime Minister, Barton announced an international competition to design a flag for the new nation. It attracted 32,823 entries. Five very similar entries were awarded equal first and shared the £200 prize.
The Australian Flag was first flown in September 1901 at the Exhibition Building in Melbourne, which was then the seat of the federal government.
In 1903 it was announced in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette No 8 that King Edward VII approved designs for the flag of Australia. The stars of the Southern Cross were shown as four seven-pointed stars and one five pointed star, and then in 1908 a seventh point was added to the Commonwealth star to represent the Australian Territories.
There was from the onset two Australian flags; the blue ensign, which was intended for official and naval purposes only and the red ensign which was to be used by the merchant fleet. Because the public began using the red ensign on land, Prime Minister Robert Menzies recommended the flying of the blue ensign as the national emblem and the Flags Act of 1953 was passed, ending the confusion about which ensign to use. The red ensign flag then become the flag for merchant ships registered in Australia.
An amendment to the Flags Act 1953 was passed in 1998 to ensure that the Australian National Flag can only be changed with the agreement of the Australian people.
The Australian National Flag is the nation’s foremost symbol; the flag should be used with respect and dignity and can be flown every day of the year. However there are also Special flag flying days, which are on Australia Day, ANZAC Day and Australian National Flag Day held on the 3rd of September.
As the nation’s foremost symbol, there have been protocols set up for use and flying of the Australian Flag, it should be used and flown with respect and dignity.
Here are some examples of how the flag should be flown – Flying the flag (1)
- The flag should be raised briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
- The flag should be raised no earlier than first light and lowered no later than dusk.
- When the flag is raised or lowered, or when it is carried in a parade or review, everyone present should be silent and face the flag. People in uniform should salute.
- The flag should always be flown freely and as close as possible to the top of the flagpole with the rope tightly secured.
- Unless all flags are raised and lowered simultaneously, the Australian National Flag should be raised first and lowered last.
- When the Australian National Flag is flown with flags of other nations, all flags should be the same size and flown on flagpoles of the same height
- When flying with only one other national flag, the Australian National Flag should fly on the left of a person facing the flags.
- Two flags should not be flown from the same flagpole.
- The flag may be flown at night only when it is illuminated.
- The flag should never be flown if it is damaged, faded or dilapidated. When the material of a flag deteriorates it should be destroyed privately and in a dignified way.e. it may be cut into small unrecognisable pieces then disposed of with the normal rubbish collection.
- The flag should not be flown upside down, even as a signal of distress.
- The flag should not fall or lie on the ground or be used as a cover (although it can be used to cover a coffin at a funeral).
Order of precedence
The Australian National Flag takes precedence over all national flags when it is flown in Australia or Australian territory. (2)
The Australian National Flag should not normally be flown in a position inferior to any other flag or ensign and should not be smaller than any other flag or ensign.
WE WILL FLY THE FLAG!!
Just recently I had a poem sent to me from a Rise Up Australia Party member who has concerns about the new move to change the Australian Flag.
Some flags focus on looking bright and colourful, some display symbols that speak of status, power or belief systems, some try to reflect certain characteristics of the terrain of the land, while others echo the contemporary thinking of the nation.
Our Flag, I believe is unique in many ways; it pin points our geographical position on the Earth; it records our historical beginnings as a recognized western nation and it displays the unity of the 6 States and 2 Territories which make up the Commonwealth of Australia.
The flag, when first flown in 1901, the result of an international competition, showed the world that the Great South Land ‘down under’ had become of age. What a story our flag has to tell! And it looks great in Red, White and Blue – Red for the Australian red dirt, Blue for the massive blue horizons and white for the stars which are abundantly displayed in the heavens over our nation.
Our Flag has been the companion of many a soldier that has fought in foreign lands to protect Australian soil; it has been lifted high in victory and lowered down in sadness to respect those who had fallen. Our flag is an icon of greatness; it represents the fortitude of our people and the Blessings of God over us. There are some things that cannot be replaced; our flag is the epitome of who we are, why would you want to change it?
Now for the Poem:
KEEP THE FLAG
By an unknown soldier
Our flag bears the stars that blaze at night
In our southern sky of blue
And the little old flag in the corner.
That’s part of our heritage too.
It’s the English, the Scots and the Irish
Who were sent to the ends of the Earth,
The rogues, the schemers, the doers and dreamers
Who gave modern Australia it’s birth.
And you who are shouting to change it,
You don’t seem to understand
It’s the flag of our law and our language,
Not the flag of a far away land.
There are plenty of people who tell you,
How, when Europe was plunged into night,
That little old flag in the corner,
Was their symbol of freedom and light.
It doesn’t mean we owe allegiance
To a forgotten imperial dream,
We’ve got the stars to show where we’re going
And the old flag to show where we’ve been. (1) (2) The Flags Act 1953.