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Old 01-26-2007, 09:54 PM   #1
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question for aussies and new zealanders about identity

your flags are very similiar not only to each other's but also to many other former british colonies of years past.

canada abandoned the red ensign in 1965 in favour of their current maple leaf after a long, LONG and heated debate.

i was wondering what the public sentiment was like in your neck of the woods... are you experiencing a lot cultural identity issues?

what are your personal preferences? keep the current one or lose it?

is it important to you to keep the union jack as part of any new design, if you were to chose a new look?

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Old 01-26-2007, 10:04 PM   #2
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Well, here in New Zealand there's been an ongoing debate of sorts with regards to whether we should adopt a new flag or keep our current one.
There's been a few different designs that certain sections have been pushing, such as a silver fern or a more Maori influenced design. I think most people are complacent to a certain extent about whether we should drop the union jack etc, most people to me at least seem kinda "meh" about it. Some people have pointed out that this flag we have now is the flag that many people fought and died for and it would break their hearts if we got rid of it, which is a fair enough point I think.

I think it's mostly a debate of leaving the monarchy behind vs. the history that the flag has, however bland the flag may be to some people.

I don't think a silver fern would be a very good flag, I don't mind the one we have now, it doesn't particularly matter to me .

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Old 01-26-2007, 11:49 PM   #3
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For most Kiwis, it's really not that big a deal. "It's just a flag, so what?" Personally, I don't like our flag much and would wholeheartedly support a silver fern. It's more representative of the country. My favourite proposal is this one:

I haven't really liked any of the other proposed flags.
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Old 01-27-2007, 01:23 AM   #4
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Well we have also had discussions about our flag, along with monarch vs republic, but we still voted to be a monarch and therefore no change with the flag was made.

I like it, I like being part of the commonwealth, and I haaaaaaaaate our national colours together (green and gold) and the boxing kangaroo emblem thingy, so I definately don't want that!
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Old 01-27-2007, 05:45 AM   #5
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Australia and cultural identity issues are like Rocky & Bullwinkle, or beer & pizza, or something. I am starting to wonder if our culture is an identity issue. Our race relationships are out of control, and have been for as long as we've been here. Whose fault it is or who is the one to rectify it is an issue is long surpassed by the present and pressing problems that it brings (my opinion). And it's an all-encompassing trouble, not only with Aborginals, but many races. This is not to say that we're a redneck bunch of violent racists. 'We' are not. We do have racial tension and there are very strong racially divided elements of society whose lists of complaints and reasons to flare up are varied, extensive, and cover of all degrees of seriousness. I dont think this is uniquely Australian, though, as it seems this happens in many places and for a multitude of reasons.

... Anyway, your questions seem about the flag. There's been numerous pushes to have it adapted, and the most frequent suggestion is to replace the Union Jack with the Aboriginal flag. I personally dont support that option, and am not sure how I feel in general about the flag being changed. At the end of the day it makes bugger all difference to anyones' life, and if your cultural identity is tied up in a flag, then I reckon it is misplaced. If national pride as a concept is very important, then surely what represents it is more a tool rather than iconically the very thing you are putting ypourself behind? I dont know anyone who actually has sentimental attachment to the flag itself. What it represents wont change with the design being changed to something else. Though, this said, I do understand anyone objecting. I personally am lazy. I like our flag. I am very used to it. I've only felt any real patriotism twice in my life, once at the Olympics when I saw us play Nigeria in the soccer, and then the other day when my friend became a citizen. Dont get me wrong, i love this country as much as anyone can, but dont understand the undying fervour that many others and other nations have. You dont need to pledge allegiance or have emotional outpouring. It's a wank. It's more a "I am who I am, and like what I am and where I am" thing. I wont wave a flag. I wont burn a flag. I learned my anthem (yes, both verses) simply because I had to. Ultimately, changing the flag is only changing the iconic representation of this country, in my humble one. Practically speaking changing it is an expense I think we can do without. We are part of the Commonwealth, and unless that changes I dont see why we need to fuss over a flag. There's more important things we need to sort out first. And that ties more closely to cultural identity and the problems which arise therein.
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Old 01-27-2007, 06:21 AM   #6
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Well Zoomerang, angie addressed it all better than I can probably, but I suspect that if we were ever to change flags, we'd probably end up with a tricolour of some kind... the overwhelming majority of the world's flags are a tricolour of some kind. It's so old hat.

SO i don't know.

Of course if I wanted to be cheeky, I could suggest the 'unofficial redneck underground flag of Australia' ... ie. the Eureka flag:

Everyone forgets about this one.
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Old 01-27-2007, 07:25 AM   #7
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Originally posted by Kieran McConville
Well Zoomerang, angie addressed it all better than I can probably, but I suspect that if we were ever to change flags, we'd probably end up with a tricolour of some kind... the overwhelming majority of the world's flags are a tricolour of some kind. It's so old hat.

SO i don't know.

Of course if I wanted to be cheeky, I could suggest the 'unofficial redneck underground flag of Australia' ... ie. the Eureka flag:

Everyone forgets about this one.
The Eureka flag is the most gorgeous flag! I wanna get a flagpole and fly it 365 days a year. I'd give anything to have that as a national flag, or at least as a Victorian flag. It just looks sweet!

The sooner we scrap the current flag the better. What's the point in having the Union Jack on it when we just bag people from Britain all the time? Supposedly, it serves to remind us of "our" heritage, but if we really are as diverse a nation as we claim to celebrate, surely we'd have a flag that reminded us of the heritage of so many other Australians, be them Irish, Greek, Croatian, Vietnamese, Sudanese or even New Zealander. I've often had a temptation to cut out that nasty little red white and blue rectangle that contaminates the top left hand corner of our flag, and just fly the flag like that. (Hey if it's good enough for Nepal and Qatar to have fancy shaped flags, why can't we?) It'd be a more symbolic rejection of our Colonial past.

The Commonwealth means nothing to me really. The only purpose it serves is to give us an excuse to ridiculously dominate a sporting event every 4 years that the Brits or the Nigerians (who would be our main competition) don't really give a toss about. It's embarrassing somewhat. The whole idea of a Commonwealth, well I don't understand a point in it anymore, it's just a reminder of British colonialism which is just a boring and silly thing that happened in the past anyway. Colonialism did (does) more harm than good anyway. (Belgians in Rwanda anyone?)

I'm passionately against the idea of a monarchy and I'm a hardcore Republican. The sheer idea of privilege based on birth is absolutely disgusting and although they may lack the same power that they used to have (all they do now is provide the Tabloids with fodder to goss about), it's an outdated concept that should be eliminated ASAP.

It's funny that the whole issue of cultural identity and the flag should be raised at this current moment. In response to the banning of the Australian flag at the Sydney Big Day Out music festival, the right-wing networks here (specifically Network Seven) have started a nauseating "FLY OUR FLAG" campaign, in which you can sign up to have a bumper sticker that features the Aussie flag (complete with a Network Seven logo!).

That same network also had on the news tonight the results from a survey that showed that support for a Republic was waning significantly. It's disappointing, but the thing that is concerning me is how an Australian cultural identity has been kind of reinvigorated to represent old, out-dated ideas of what it is to be Australian. Seems to have boomed since things like the Cronulla riots, opposition to the (admittedly) minimal and vague evidence of a "Stolen generation", the death of "typical" Aussie Steve Irwin and the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. There are some wierd things happening down under at the's hard to really say what our "cultural identity" is anymore. I used to think that it was impossible to define one, particularly with so many people from different cultures living here now, but still, the media likes to perpetuate that one still exists.

The issue of "Australian values" has also been spawning some heated debate....

So yeah, are we experiencing some "cultural ientity issues?"...we certainly are....!

Don't know what's going down in New Zealand. To be honest we don't really stick our nose into their affairs that much. It seems at the moment that they are a quite liberal nation at the moment, while we are all very conservative, but very uptight about an Australian national identity. So yeah, we have little to do with them unless it comes to stealing their music....

So, whilst I detest the design of the Australian flag, most Aussies are apparently OK with it at the moment, so there probably won't be a change of flag for a long time least 15 years.

A green and gold flag I would like, or one that features orange or kangaroos though cause that's just cheesy.

I do feel proud to be an Aussie when I watch the socceroos play or I listen to a Midnight oil song or I go down the beach....

Ultimately however, I don't really care that much about being Australian, but I love being Victorian and Melbourne is the best bloody city in the world...yep its all about being Victorian for me......
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Old 01-27-2007, 08:12 AM   #8
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Yes I rather like the Eureka flag myself (my reference to it was slightly tongue-in-cheek).

As the social momentum toward this nation becoming a republic is probably generations away at this point, having actively moved backward over the last 15 years or so, and as any change of flag would only make sense in such a context, I see little likelihood of any change in the forseeable future.

I don't really trust people who wave flags anyway. Like Angie said, a quiet fondness for who and where you are is one thing; hard-edged nationalism is another thing entirely, and I've seen altogether too much of it this year.

One last comment however. I don't mind the existing Australian flag, or at least I don't fall into nausea at the sight of it. It's how it is for a reason, obviously the Southern Cross fiddled with a bit so it also suggests the Federation, and the Union Jack, well... we've moved on, but as recently as 1940 my adolescent parents would have taken their membership in the greater British Empire for granted. And a lot of these people still vote.
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Old 01-29-2007, 09:24 PM   #9
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Apparently public opinion in Australia is swaying AGAINST the republican movement - I think I saw something on tv the other day saying that support for Australia becoming a republic is at its lowest since the early 1990's.

As for the flag - i reckon it's ok. I don't have a problem with it, and unless we do become a republic at some stage in the future i reckon we should keep it as it is. If we were to change the flag, I'd just like to see the union jack go and us keep the southern cross - I kinda like that as a symbol of australia - i even entertained the idea of getting a southern cross tattoo at one point.

Originally posted by Kieran McConville

Like Angie said, a quiet fondness for who and where you are is one thing; hard-edged nationalism is another thing entirely, and I've seen altogether too much of it this year.
I agree - I don't like seeing our flag used in this way either - I don't own an australian flag, and I still consider myself a very proud australian. I know what country i'm in without having a flag pole in my front yard!! Probably the only time I might consider getting an aussie flag would be if I was lucky enough to go to the world cup or something, other than that, probably not.
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:12 PM   #10
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Yeah, everyone has summed it up pretty much. We are a laissez faire nation, most of the time, and most people really dont' give a fuck about "national identity". I know for myself, being first generation Aussie born of European migrant parents, I don't care about Aust's "British" heritage, don't like the Union Jack on our flag and the only Brit thing I like is their music. The only time I felt truly "Australian" was during this World Cup and wholeheartedly supported the Socceroos, even though my parents' national team was also playing.

I do reckon there is more ethnic intolerance, which concerns me, but I can't say what the solution to that is, other than getting rid of this government which is quietly fomenting this opinion (hansonism by stealth). And yeah, get rid of the monarchy as our head of state, though I reckon 10 minutes of King Chuck will do that nicely!
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Old 01-29-2007, 11:36 PM   #11
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I'm not that fussed about the flag, but I am very pro-republic. Surely in the end that will just be a generational thing. Once the baby boomers pass, that really is it as far as generations who actually have any tie or emotional feeling towards ye olde empire or whatever. I can't begin to understand why the head of state of our country isn't actually from our country, nor can I see any argument against changing that as anything but ridiculous. I am sure from my generation on it will only seem more and more ridiculous that the Queen of England is our head of state, and the scales of voting population will eventually just tip in that favour. Eventually.

Till then, and I think it will be a while, maybe 20 years, I also agree that the nationalistic fever brewing here is really very worrying. That it is not a natural thing, that it is created and fuelled by the media, and worse, the government, both of which find it to be 'a winner' that helps them achieve their goals is what is really worrying. The suckers that fall for it all aren't the problem.
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Old 01-30-2007, 05:16 AM   #12
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I don't know much about history or politics or things like that... I spent my student days looking at rocks or getting addicted to the internet.

I like how the Eureka flag looks, and its history, but I don't like the association it now has, ie; racist rednecks (or so I've been told).

I have vague feelings that it might be nice to replace the Union Jack in our flag with something closer to home, or just nothing, but that won't happen until we have a Republic, which won't happen until the current government (and particularly Mr Howard) loses an election and we get 15 years of someone else to start the swing back the other way.
That referendum was completely rigged, by the way. Utter bullshit. I think the only reason the result came back as No was the way they posed the question. I can't remember the details, but it was something like "Do you want Australia to become a Republic based on the German model?" Asking us to pick a specific STYLE of Republic at the same time was ludicrous. If the question had just been "Should Australia become a Republic with an Australian Head of State, Yes or No?", I think things would have come out differently.

Not that I'm a passionate Republican by any stretch, mind you. My mother emigrated from England, and my father's ancestors are English too, but I don't hold any particular fondness for being connected to the Commonwealth (although it is fun to clean up at the Commonwealth Games... ). I also think it's simply common sense that we eventually become a Republic, and I'm sure it will happen one day (see above).

With all the things happening recently between us and the US, someone more cynical than I might suggest replacing the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.

The thing with the flag and the BDO in Sydney... I completely understand where the BDO organisers were coming from in making the request, but they should have realised the reaction that would provoke. It was a silly idea to ask people not to bring flags, even if they did move the date to the day before Australia Day.

My father would probably violently object to changing the flag, if only because he was alive during World War 2 and remembers what it was like to be living in a country at war. I have no idea what that would be like, and I'd rather not find out.

All this mindless misdirected uber-nationalistic patriotism I'm seeing here is deeply disturbing to me. No one can tell me what is or is not Australian, in terms of behaviour and attitude. Branding things as "un-Australian" gives me cold chills. Slippery slope, people.
Yes, I agree there are certain things I don't want to be part of my country, like violence and racism and anything-ism. But racism, for example, is not un-Australian - it's just plain wrong. There's a lot of it here, sadly, but it's a lot of other places too.
Every time I hear someone say, "I'm not racist, but... (insert racial prejudice here)", I just want to shake them. A friend of mine drew my attention to the tendency a lot of (anglo) people here have, which is to automatically refer to the white person in a multi-ethnic group as "the Australian guy/girl". How do they know the others aren't all citizens too? They don't necessarily mean anything by it, but it's just one of those depressing unconscious things.

I think the most important thing that needs to be established is that independent thought is not "un-Australian".

For the last five years or more, I've been getting less and less proud of being Australian (not that I was filled with patriotic zeal to start with). I've seriously considered moving to New Zealand. If things keep on the way they have been, I won't like it here soon. My only consolation is that if Howard doesn't lose the next election, Peter Costello will probably assassinate him if he doesn't retire.
Of course, that's what I was thinking last time.

As for my cultural identity.... I have no idea. Maybe I'll get a handle on it after I go overseas and see if humans in other English-speaking countries (UK and US this time) are really very different to us. I feel like I have more "roots" in England and the UK than I do in Australia. I can't feel connected to the land here because I am very conscious that it was never ours (Europeans'). Maybe that's just misplaced guilt. I dunno.

I love Australia in a broad, natural-landscapy kind of sense. It is a beautiful country, I can't imagine how beautiful it was before the British settled and started screwing it up. I don't want the Barrier Reef to die, or the rivers to dry up, or the little mountains we have to never be snowed on again.

Gah, sorry for the super-long spammy post.
In summary, I think my overall answer is "I don't know". Apologies for wasting your time!

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