Aussies flag talk of any change

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Australia will not change its flag in the foreseeable future regardless of what happens in New Zealand.

Both sides of politics yesterday dismissed the idea as Prime Minister John Key's advocacy of a new flag and plans for a referendum on the issue again stirred one of Australia's most sensitive debates.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, also a staunch monarchist, has consistently rejected change, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told BBC radio in London that there was little support for a new flag.

"I am about to meet with Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, I'm not going to start talking about removing the Union Jack from the Australian flag," she said.

"I had a very enjoyable meeting with Her Majesty the Queen last evening and I didn't raise the matter of the flag there, either. Believe it or not it's not an issue that actually draws much attention in Australia.

"I believe we will stick with the flag. There's no great demand to change it and many Australians have fought and died under that flag, sadly."

Labor leader Bill Shorten also wants to keep the present flag, despite his strong advocacy of a republic.

"I do not support changing the flag," he said yesterday.

Shorten said the present flag reflected the diversity of Australia's unique history.

Arguments that Australia is one of only four countries that still embody the Union Jack, that it is hard to distinguish from the New Zealand flag and that it signals a colonial past, rather than a multicultural future, have consistently failed to overcome the nation's affection for the flag.

- NZ Herald

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