Flag Flies

While you’re ruminating on the febrile Australian attachment to the English monarchy, have a think about that other cringeworthy relic of Empire, the Australian flag.

In Hamburg a few years ago while visiting friends I got into a conversation with sixteen year old Nikolai about the world’s flags, of which he had an inordinately comprehensive knowledge.

Naturally he queried the presence of the Union Jack on the flag of a (supposedly) sovereign nation like Australia, so I explained the head of state problem. But I also pointed out that an Aboriginal flag was also officially flown in recognition of our First Peoples.

Flags are weighted with all sorts of nationalistic symbolism that stir up jingoistic sentimentality, so I reckon they should be used very sparingly and circumspectly, if at all. They should certainly not be run up the school flagpole for children to salute. 

Anyway, I told Nikolai of my wish for that Empire relic to be removed from the Australian flag, and explained that flag design competitions were held in years past, but that inertia prevailed in the Lucky Country. We discussed the idea of combining elements of both Australian flags, and then adjourned for the evening.

The next morning before we parted company, Nikolai presented me with this lego version of his solution, which he had worked out by himself overnight. I reckon it’s perfect. I would even keep the lego pattern to show how Australia is slotted together multiculturally, and maybe less pompous than others.

If a German teenager can sort out a new independent flag for us overnight, maybe it’s not beyond Australia’s ken to finally cut that visual Empire apron string too. In fact, as the Clever Country, maybe we could deal with the head of state issue and the fossil flag at the same time?

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