A new Australian flag, says artist Ken Done, would be the symbol of a modern Australian republic that recognises Australia’s Indigenous peoples in the Constitution.
This is no more than an agenda for a beach towel to be the new flag and a thought bubble for a new constitution.
As for constitutional recognition, all Australians are already recognised in the Constitution which was essentially about forming one nation from six self-governing colonies.
The problems of the indigenous aboriginal people are not going to be solved by adopting one of the many proposals for so-called recognition.
It is indigenous leaders of the calibre of the late Senator Neville Bonner who loved the Flag and the Crown who will do that.
Senator Bonner was a founder of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, whose campaign motto has long been:
To preserve, to protect and to defend our heritage: the Australian constitutional system, the role of the Australian Crown in it and our Australian National Flag.
Ken Done, 81, has made several flag designs and his preferred one is the simplest: a gold, seven-pointed Federation Star in the middle of a blue background.
The flag he says should respect the history and contributions of both Aboriginal and British people, and also be distinctive. He told The Australian that while the Aboriginal flag was a ”terrific design”, he doubted there was enough “political will” to make it the national emblem.
Matthew Westwood, The Australian’s art correspondent says Done was a successful art director in advertising who in the early 1980s started to exhibit his paintings and developed a highly successful design business. His brightly coloured designs using Australian motifs were printed on everything from doona covers to towels, T-shirts and coasters.
Done said he had been thinking about the flag for 30 years and that the Sydney Games 20 years ago would have been the perfect time to change it.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” he said. “I’ve talked to a number of prime ministers about it. You have to have political will to make it happen.”
He said there needed to be a campaign to build momentum and the motivation to change.
Most Australians see no need to change a flag chosen by the Australian people in an open competition at the time of Federation; a flag under which our soldiers have fought and our athletes have long competed.
At the time of the passing of the Flag Act , Labor leader Dr HV Evatt described it as the ”most beautiful flag in the world.”
And as for constitutional change, as two of our founders said at Federation, the Constitution is designed to allow for change, but only change which is ”desirable, irresistible and inevitable.”
Desirable, irresistible and inevitable.
Australians are a wise constitutional people. They have a long record of approving change only if they are satisfied that change will manifestly improve the governance of the country. Indeed, they have a well-tuned rodent radar. If they can smell a rat in a proposal – as they did in 1999 with the politicians’ republic, they will say a very firm, “No”, as they did in the 1999 landslide. And they did this despite the at times hysterical insistence of media and politicians.
To repeat: this is no more than an agenda for a beach towel to be the new flag and a thought bubble for a new constitution.
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Professor David Flint AM is an emeritus professor of law and was chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority and the Australian Press Council, president of the National Federation of the English Speaking Union, Associate Commissioner with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and convenor of the Committee of Australian Law Deans. He has been National Convenor of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy since the 1999 referendum campaign. He has authored books on topics such as the media, international economic law and on the Constitution. At Barcelona in 1991 he received a World Jurist Association award as World Outstanding Legal Scholar. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1995. His Good Sauce show,Take Back Your Country, discusses the problems and solutions to the decay of federalism and democracy.
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