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A flag for the future

In November this year, Kiwis will be asked to take part in a postal referendum in which they will rank five flag alternatives from most to least preferred. In March there will be another referendum in which they will be asked to choose between the current New Zealand Flag and the preferred alternative design selected in the first referendum. The results of both referendums are binding.

It struck me, as I watched the people protesting against a mosque being built in Bendigo, that I now associate our flag with racism and colonialism. It has become a symbol of intolerance, a cloak or brand meant to be worn by real Aussies – the sort who took part in the Cronulla riots, the sort who want to stop immigration, the sort who want to relax gun laws, the sort who attend Reclaim Australia rallies and campaign to ban halal certification for food.



It’s time we reconsidered our ‘patriotism’ and our allegiance to a flag that no longer represents our country. Our flag should symbolise more accurately the nation to which we all belong rather than the notion of White Supremacy.


Here are a few suggestions.

Ken Done

Williamson 1


Bob Bradley

Ralph Kelly

Aussie Push

brendan Jones




Markwick Parbery

Williamson 2

Ausflag 1991

Do any of these inspire you?

Note: The original artists and the meaning of their flags and some more alternatives can be found here and here.




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  1. Ginny Lowndes

    If the Kiwis can have the silver fern, then why can’t we have the wattle? National Wattle Day sums up its full meaning.

  2. Kaye Lee

    Like this Ginny?

  3. Jeanette

    3 or 7 I believe we need to recognise our indegenious peoples. No kangaroos we already have on a lot of commercial wear and tbere could be some copyright issues.

    But please can we start talking about a new flag.

  4. Denis H

    I like 3 and 8. I agree that our flag does not truly represent Australia.

  5. Diane

    Why do all the choices have to have the stars on them? Personally I like the current Aboriginal flag with the red land, yellow sun and black sky, but if we can’t use that then something equally simple and representative. Green and gold are already colours associated worldwide with Australia so it makes sense to have those represented. I’d not have a kangaroo or the stars though – too fussy. If we are going to have a symbol on the flag it needs to be something basic and easily reproduced – think the Canadian maple leaf – the boomerang shape works but Nike would probably say it’s too much like their tick! The TPP agreement probably has something in it that would let them sue us for stealing it and rotating it a bit!

  6. Ro Bailey

    I love the one with wattle, it makes sense a these colours are always worn by our sporting teams. Also love the blue, white, green and yellow with the red dots. It combines the red white and blue with the green and yellow very tastefully.

  7. Kaye Lee


  8. Kaye Lee


  9. RosemaryJ36

    I like the way both 3 and 7 blend the Aboriginal theme with the invaders symbol.

  10. Kaye Lee

    This is the story of number 3……

    “the green and gold on the flag represents our national colours; the Southern Cross is the constellation of our nation; gold is for the economy, commerce, mining and agriculture; and the boomerang design shows a uniquely Australian implement which is a tool, a weapon and a musical instrument representing technology, science and art.”

  11. silkworm

    The flag must include the Southern Cross. God placed the Southern Cross in the sky over Australia as a sign that we are a Christian nation.

  12. Kaye Lee

    Number 7 is called the Reconciliation flag….

    “Reconciliation is achieved by the progression across the flag of the Aboriginal and European colours – black, gold, red, white and blue. The common colour, red, is in the middle of the five, suggesting a meeting of minds with reciprocal respect. Our national heritage is also therefore represented in the flag without it appropriating either the Aboriginal flag or the Union Jack.

    The boomerang device gives the flag a uniquely Australian identity, whilst blue and Gold also represent Australia′s traditional Heraldic Colours, taken from the torse of Australia′s Coat of Arms.

    The Southern Cross is retained in exactly the same form as it currently appears to provide continuity with our current flag. The Southern Cross in this form has also become strongly identified with Australia and is extremely popular.

    Finally, the 7 pointed Commonwealth star, representing the six original states with one point for all future states and territories, is given pride of place at the vexillological honour point – the upper hoist or canton of the flag.

    The Federation star represents the unity and purpose of the Australian nation, its sovereignty as derived from its people, and forms a symbol of the embodiment of our democracy. By placing it in the honour position of the flag, it forges an Australian nation in which all citizens strive towards a common goal of a prosperous, peaceful, and tolerant nation.”

  13. Judes

    I have just returned from 6 months with family in NZ. It’s been very interesting listening to the locals speak about this issue. I wouldn’t get too excited about NZ changing their flag. John Key had almost no response to the ‘town hall chats’ around the country. Most Kiwis don’t want the flag changed and the questions being asked are worded in such a way that at this stage, there is no ..’ I don’t want the NZ flag changed’ option. This is a huge waste of $29million dollars which could have been better spent on an ailing health system or on education. As usual there are the vocal minority making noises…led by a Prime minister who wants this to be his very own ‘swan song’.

  14. Kaye Lee


    It would be nice to beat NZ at something other than netball for a change. They are usually far more progressive than us. Quick…..let’s do it before them 🙂

  15. Terry2

    Anything that isn’t tainted by team Australia !

    It would be a sad irony if we incorporated the kangaroo, largely killed for per food these days.

    If Scotland had seceded from the British Union they would have had to delete the Scottish flag from the Union Jack, leaving out some of the white and all of the blue…………..why don’t we just eliminate the Union Jack altogether.

  16. Faye Cox

    I like number 3 and number 7 .
    Please, no kangaroos. If it must have an animal why not a platypus ?

  17. corvus boreus

    Thanks, Silkworm, for that religious/nationalistic interpretation of the astrological crypto-symbology of that constellation.
    It is interesting to hear from someone who has insight into just why god chose to put a group of stars exactly where it did.

    Ps, If we are a ‘Christian’ nation, does this marginalise or disenfranchise those who are not practicing Christians?

  18. deknarf

    A Southern Cross? Yes! Something representative of the original inhabitants? Yes! Something representing our cultural diversity? Yes! Sorry! But that batch is pretty uninspiring!!

  19. Kaye Lee


    There are many alternatives. I chose the above selection but am happy to hear suggestions.

  20. roaminruin

    Rosemary J36 – the “invader’s symbol”? Oh please, move on for god’s sake. My forebears were invaded by Saxons, and Jutes, and Angles and Danes. I got over it, so should you.
    And why are those of us with colonial forebears invaders yet recent immigrants are welcome and are not invaders? Should I emigrate and then immigrate back to cleanse this invader stigma I bear?
    And none of those options is worthy of a national flag. Green and gold – blech. Kangaroos, boomerangs and southern crosses – how clichéd. The Aboriginal flag is theirs, don’t try and take that from them too.
    Keep trying.

  21. Kaye Lee

  22. silkworm

    I’ve got nothing against eating kangaroos – kangaroo meat is full of omega-3 fats – and if it’s good enough for the original inhabitants to eat, then it’s good enough for me. But if people have a problem with it, then choose another animal, like the camel, whose profile now dominates outback Australia. Yes, there should be a camel on our flag. Let this be a symbol of our future growth industry in camel’s milk, which is a good source of the extremely healthy peptide lactoferrin.

  23. Kaye Lee

    I truly want to hear suggestions. It’s good to hear what you do and don’t like but it will be different from others. Some like green and gold, others don’t. Some like boomerangs, some don’t. Some like the southern cross, some don’t. So far general consensus seems to be ruling out kangaroos.

  24. John Lord

    It is a flag that reflects our past and is misused in the present. If makes no reference to our future. We should follow the NZ example. But in many ways we are more backward than they.

  25. John Lord

    Kaye you really don’t think conservatives would tolerate that. Although I like what is says.

  26. Faye Cox

    I love the flag posted at 4.58 p.m.

  27. Jimmy

    Change the flag
    That will solve all our problems.
    Our hospitals will be far better resourced.
    Our education system will improve overnight.
    Over population and the environment will no longer be an issue.
    Racism and bigotry will disappear.
    So simple, just change our flag.
    Why has nobody thought of this before.

  28. eli nes

    Rosemary the symbol of britain doesn’t contain angles saxon and jutes. Indeed the flag of scotland is part of the jack and the english national anthem contains ‘the rebellious scots to crush.” So invader’s flag fits the bill and should go go go go

  29. Michael Taylor

    You can’t win with some people. I’ve shared this on Facebook only to have people jump on me with “there are more important issues to talk about such as unemployment levels, asylum seeker policies etc etc”. Hellooooo . . . that’s what we’ve been doing for the last two years!

    I’d like to see a change of flag and if people don’t like me mentioning it then bad luck.

  30. Kaye Lee

    Changing the flag will not solve our problems Jimmy. I know that and do not consider it a priority if we must choose. But surely we can achieve that change while addressing the problems that really matter?

    Sorry Michael 🙁 I also find the discussion and reaction interesting. Changing the flag does not fix our problems – nor does it stop us from doing what is required. My mind can cope with more than one thing at a time.

  31. mars08

    @Kaye Lee…. I have no doubt your mind can cope… But evidence suggests that far too many Australians cannot.

  32. Kaye Lee


    It’s an argument I recognise and use myself when it comes to housework. I can’t do that until I clean up that which I can’t do until I organise this which will involve ringing this person which I can’t do because it’s the weekend. We all know it’s not valid but it saves having to do anything I guess.

    We can’t change the flag until we have world peace.

  33. mars08

    @Kaye Lee… I think your analogy of house work is a bit off the mark.

    For a start you have full control over that domain. You can determine your priorities.

    More importantly, what you do around the house impacts you alone. Your choices will not be used as an excuse to divide the house or promote disunity. You will not have other members of the household suggesting you are engaging in a class or culture war.

    I fear that any potential benefits that might come from the mere discussion of swapping the flag… will be outweighed by political point scoring and distraction.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Thankfully my family and friends recognise that my talents lie elsewhere and forgive my domestic lassitude otherwise there could be a shitload of disunity.

    Am I being overly optimistic in thinking there is a slight decline in political point-scoring since we booted Tony to the kerb?

  35. mars08

    I suspect it’s only because Malcolm is having a honeymoon with the electorate. The gloves will be off soon enough if the polls turn.

  36. Diane

    How about the flag at 4:58 – replace the black with green, get rid of the stars. I could go for that – red for the earth, green for the wattle in the mallee, dark blue for the night sky (and as an echo of the current flag) and yellow for the sun. Perhaps make the sun an eight-pointed star for the 6 states and 2 territories. It is a star in its own right, isn’t it?

  37. Greer Spillane (@GreerSpillane)

    The Union Jack, say what you want about its presence on the Australian flag, is an amazing flag because it represents ALL of the UK; Great Britain isn’t left out because it treated Scotland like dirt in the past, the modern Britons aren’t punished with a lack of representation because of their ancestors’ terrible decisions and if people are set on changing the Australian flag, they need to realise the same needs to go for us. Yes to Aboriginal representation, but yes to keeping European representation too. There’s no need to radically change the flag like all of these are doing, a flag like this represents everyone fairly without being a jarring, unnecessary redesign.

  38. Kaye Lee


    “The Union Jack…. is an amazing flag because it represents ALL of the UK”.

    Exactly. And I quite like your suggestion to represent Australia.

  39. Blinkyewok

    I like the green flag with southern cross and wattle.

  40. Kaye Lee

    Quite a few people seem to like the wattle

  41. Wally

    Would like to see the flag at 4:58 with the colours altered.

    From the bottom – black band to represent the earth, a blue band to represent life, orange half circle to represent rising/setting of the sun and a red sky to represent the glow of the sun and the southern cross in the right upper half.

    The yellow sun could have yellow rays radiating from it.

  42. Aortic

    Beneath the Southern Cross I stand, a sprig of wattle in my hand, a native of my native land, Australia you f*cking beauty. Seriously our diggers fought under the flag not necessarily for it, and imho anything not too twee incorporating the first Australians would be fine.

  43. Matters Not

    Phillip Adams won me over many years ago when he suggested that Australia should distinguish itself by having no flag at all. Nothing! Not even a streamer. From memory, he postulated several ‘advantages’ that resonated.

    At dusk, when many nations lower their flag, they would in effect be ‘raising’ the Australian ‘flag’. Further, whenever the ‘world’ saw an un flagged ‘pole’, they would soon come to think, there is the Australian flag, flying in the breeze.

    At the Olympics, before the end of each and every race, people would soon recognise that the ‘winner’ would only be in the business of replacing ‘our flag’.

    And given the state of political philosophy in Australia, this ‘nihilism’ seems appropriate. After all we (at the political level at least) stand for nothing.

    And so it goes.

  44. kate hamilton

    Kaye, I particularly like the 4.58 flag, and the 10.27 one too.

  45. Jexpat

    So, are ordinary posters allowed to submit their designs?

  46. Kaye Lee

    I would love to see anyone’s designs. None of these are mine. If you post a URL I can maybe display it for you.

  47. Jocelyn

    My choice is number 7, with no changes. It is 50/50 – Indigenous/British. It has the 6 pointed star, boomerang, and Southern Cross, all the correct colours.

  48. diannaart

    The thing about wattle – yellow and green certainly represents the narrow coastline, however Australia is far greater than the narrow band in which most Australians live.

    The two colours that stand out all across our land is red for the earth and blue for the skies – for this reason I rather like the flag posted at 10.27 by Kaye Lee. Perhaps the blue could be lighter rather than the traditional navy.

  49. Jeremy

    It needs to be simple and something to rally to.. The aboriginal flag is on the money, very earthy but good luck with that.

  50. jungney

    Here’s a few suggestions: nothing that misappropriates Aboriginal culture therefore out go the boom’rangs, Aboriginal flags and anything that borrows or alludes to them; nothing that looks like or reminds of Australian cricket; nothing that looks like a corporate logo or part of a ‘buy Australian’ campaign.

    The wattle flag is ok.

  51. diannaart

    The wattle flag represents more of our sporting teams.

    I agree with your point about misappropriation of Aboriginal icons – it is imperative first nation people are included as part of the national flag – such as the dot-painting sun on the flag Kay Lee presented at 10.27.

  52. Kaye Lee

    I also like the Aboriginal flag but I don’t think we could just adopt it as it already has a meaning. What about the one at 4:58?

  53. Keitha Granville

    I like the SOuthern Cross, keep that. Why don’t we just take out the Union Jack and put a kangaroo there instead ? It tells the world immediately which country it is, and the retention of the other parts of the flag assuages those who don’t want a change. We’ll be offending no-one.
    We can’t have the Aboriginal flag – it’s theirs. And using bits of it and bits of ours looks like a mess.
    Wattle ? There’d be many places in the world who don’t know what that is.
    A kangaroo is unmistakeably Australia.

  54. Matthew Oborne

    I would prefer to see the emu in the milky way as the astrological reference on any flag as that interpretation of the stars was unique in history. Throwing off the shackles is long overdue, I would like a flag that bogans wont wrap themselves in. It is important, many said we have more important issues than same sex marriage, but tell that to those whose rights are not equal with others. Australia has the worlds oldest continuous culture something we should be proudly showing the world.

  55. diannaart

    Matthew Oborne

    I would like a flag that bogans wont wrap themselves in

    Then a kangaroo won’t work – emu (liking the astrological reference – although some people will think ‘god’ placed it there deliberately) or the very distinctive platypus as someone else has suggested.

  56. Diane

    I like the one at 10:27 if we really HAVE to have those bloody 7-pointed stars! But isn’t there going to be problems with getting the exact amount of dots correct every time anyone draws a flag? I think the flag should be simple, instantly recognisable and easy for kids to draw. A flag with red for the red-earth, green for the wattle and a single yellow eight-pointed sun/star (for the states and territories) I reckon has all the elements.

  57. Kaye Lee

    Nice Wally

  58. Wally

    This is a simpler design but it has no link to our indigenous people.

  59. gangey1959

    Australia needs a new flag.
    Australians, from wherever their origins, DESERVE a new flag.
    One that has some reference to our british heritage, but one that recognises our Indigenous heritage as well,
    and also all of the other nationalities who make Australia their home.
    It may not be the most important debate, but it might just focus our thoughts on OUR country.
    (I need help posting my idea)

  60. Faye Cox

    I think the one posted at 10.27 yesterday really says it all.

  61. corvus boreus

    I would prefer to see a platypus rather than a dingo.
    Canis lupus dingo types are not unique to Australia. They are a slightly novel breed of imported dog.
    Ornithirhynchus anatinus is entirely unique to Australia and very distinctive (and unusual) in form.
    Monotremes represent.

  62. Dagney J. Taggart

    I quite fancy the aboriginal flag as a national flag. Perhaps with the southern cross in there somewhere, or not. The flag is simple, striking and unique. Further, having that accepted as the national flag would help with reconciliation, as it would then stand for all Australians.

  63. silkworm

    The dot painting issue came up recently on Table Talk. Dot painting is not an authentic Aboriginal tradition. It was invented in the 1970s.

  64. mmc1949

    Aboriginal flag with the addition of the Southern Cross.

  65. corvus boreus

    Platypodes are a bit of a gubbah pet-totem of mine. I think taking some custodial responsibility for the survival of the single existing genus-species of aquatic monotreme might also also encourage Australians to take much more positive actions towards restoring the health of our fresh-waterways.

    Ps, I mean no disrespect to the Echidnas, but they have 2 genus of 4 species with numerous variations (including representatives in New Guinea), and can widely roam the land, whereas the Platypus has absolutely nowhere else to go.

  66. Kaye Lee

    This has been a very interesting discussion. Thank you all for your suggestions. It has been very liberating to have a discussion about something we all appear to agree on, that we need to change the flag, even though it does not have life changing consequences. With Abbott gone it feels like all things are possible. I feel like I can indulge in pleasurable activities again as opposed to manning the trenches.

    Regardless of preferences for flags, I have enjoyed the art.

  67. William Joseph

    The Golden Wattle Flag is my favourite. I like that the wattle star emblem is primarily a unifying symbol, many united equally as one. It symbolises what we aspire to become as a people and a nation.
    I also like that the wattle represents so many different aspects of the Australian identity, it’s pre-colonial past, sporting customs, military traditions, our unique nature and the land itself. It’s a unifying symbol that all Australians from all walks of life could identify with.

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