Happy Australia Day

Happy Birthday Oz.


So, how to celebrate the day? Last week I discovered that in one Australian town they pass out free “wavers”. Merriam-Webster won’t tell me what Aussies think a “waver” is, but I’m going to stick my neck out and says it means “flag”. Now, which flag? Apparently in Oz they are deeply conflicted about flags.

Frequent polls showed the percentage of Australians wanting a new flag increasing from 27% in 1979 to 42% in 1992, to a majority of 52% in 1998.


The Australian government likes this one:

[Image credits: Wikipedia. First Fleet Bicentennial Reenactment, Sydney Harbor, 1988; Australian flag identity crisis]


4 Responses to “Happy Australia Day”

  1. Canehan Says:

    I’ve not lived in Oz for some 50 years now, so I’m out of touch with the sentiments for and against the Queen remaining constitutional monarch, and the flag. My generation was certainly much more attached to the British connection than later ones – so much of the population now does not have any roots in the UK or even Europe. (My mother’s generation talked about going to the UK as “going home” even though she was third-generation Australian-born).

    I am a monarchist, because the alternative is a head of state in some way politically appointed. That’s why the referendum to end the connection with the Queen was lost in Oz some years ago – the opposition couldn’t come up with a credible scheme that would keep politics out of the post of Governor-General, who currently is formally the Queen’s representative. The G-Gs are now Australian rather than British but that doesn’t satisfy the opposition.

    The republicans include a lot of people on the left wing, but also some on the right, including my closest friend there. My totally unscientific observation is that those on the right are often of Irish descent, giving their views an obvious background.

    As to the flag, including the Union Jack doesn’t bother me, but again there is the lack of a UK background for many people there. I presume they would be happy with just the Southern Cross, which would make a nice flag, actually. The graphic you showed of all the different flags is a bit mischievous (by the creators of it). Take away the Union flag and they would all still be different, and still need a unifying theme – probably the Southern Cross again.

    Both issues will run and run …

  2. Nijma Says:

    The sentiment I read, I forget where, said the break with England will come eventually, but not while the queen is alive.

    I see even though Australia is a member of Commonwealth with the queen as head of state, it is also a member of the U.N…. [And they fuss about Palestine raising a stupid flag in front of its own office!]

    The Bryson book brought up John Kerr and the constitutional crisis of 1975 as a reason Australia can’t get along without England.

    I also see Oz has a representational voting system, not like our own winner-take-all system. There if you vote green, a few green candidates get in. Here if you vote green
    (and the green candidates tend to be retreads), it splits the progressive vote and gives the election to the conservatives.


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