The 7-point Federation Star represents the Commonwealth - one point for each of the six states and one point for the territories
The green represents the land and prosperity of the nation
The yellow represents the sun and golden soil
The Southern Cross represents our nation in the south
The design represents the strength and independence of the nation
Elements of the national anthem are also reflected in the design with "golden soil" (yellow for the sun's power), "nature's gifts of beauty rich and rare" (green for the land) and "girt by sea" (blue).
The Federation Star ensemble provides a motif that Australia can transplant elsewhere. On its side it symbolises "A" for Australia. Note the icon in your browser tab.
Evolutionary Australian Flag
"To make a flag that is an Australian symbol, not to find Australian symbols to make a flag"
The issue of a new Australian flag as been around since the early 1980s. With all the
alternate designs presented over the years, most attempt to borrow or keep too much from
the existing flag. This causes two problems: 1) The poor design elements of the current
flag are repeated; 2) If people see such a close similarity to the national flag, the need
to change it at all is questioned.
Green and Gold, as derived from the Golden Wattle, our national flower, are Australia's national colours. They were officially proclaimed 1984-04-19 and have been seen in some form on sports teams and official uniforms for over a 100 years. While the national flag has confused their primacy and created a rampant false belief that Australia has "sporting colours", facts are these colours remain our most powerful and popular national symbol and have a far longer history than the British-sourced colour scheme of the current national flag, or any other colour set for that matter. Most importantly, they are indigenous to the country, and became popular on their own momentum. No one forced Australians to adopt them. In fact, their popularity forced the government to react, potentially laying the foundation for a future new flag.
What about the common argument that countries like Japan, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Malaysia don't use their national colours on their flags, so why should Australia? The question itself is false. The facts:
Japan - Red and white are the national colours. Blue is the football team's colour. Most other Japanese sporting uniforms are red and white.
Netherlands, Italy and Malaysia - Orange, blue and yellow are historically their royal colours. National colours are those on the flag. Royal colours are typically worn in battle. In modern day, that's sports.
Germany - Red, black and gold of the flag are the national colours. White is a legacy from the Prussian flag and kept by tradition, primarily by the football team and always with a splash of the national colours on the uniform.
There's only two countries that have it backwards, and wrong: Australia and New Zealand. Personal approval of the national colours is irrelevant. They must be used on the national flag, or the same apathy and division to the national flag will continue.
Independent Australia Flag
A design using Australia's National Colours and Symbols for a 100% independent design. The golden Federation Star is taken from our coat of arms and represents our unity. With that is the bush and our vast golden land under the Southern Cross. This design, a collaboration with another designer, follows the trail of Canada's excellent and aspirational flag, keeping it simple and neutral, and believing that the best move forward for Australia - just like Canada and other former colonies did - is to jump clear of our British legacy colours.
Aboriginal Flag and Colours
The first thought of many Australians is to add the Aboriginal Flag or colours somewhere. Why? Are we designing an Australian flag or an Aboriginal flag? Again, the facts:
- The Aboriginal Flag was designed in 1971 by Harold Thomas and he made it clear that it must not form part of the national flag: "Our flag is not a secondary thing. It stands on its own, not to be placed as an adjunct to any other thing. It shouldn't be treated that way." Since then, aborigines have not altered this stance.
- The Aboriginal Flag, along with the Torres Straight Islander's flag, are currently official flags of Australia. If aboriginal elements are incorporated into the national flag, why not TSI as well? Then with such recognition on the national flag, why keep their original flags official? They should be demoted and not flown with the Australian flag anymore. That most likely would be seen as a regressive step by aborigines and a retrograde step by the nation as a whole. Removing the Union Jack, the key symbol of their oppressors, is the limit of their requirement.
- Aboriginal concerns of recognition, treaty and sovereignty, and social problems like education, employment and health, will not be solved by taking from their flag, nor would such a theft redress their historical grievances. In fact, it would be just seen as white Australia again stealing something from them, and it would be done solely for token or political reasons. The best way to respect aborigines is to leave them, their culture, their symbols and their flag, alone.
- There already are links to indigenous people via Australia's existing colours and symbols. First, the Southern Cross has been long part of aboriginal culture and lore, and it's the one symbol that represents the one great continuity of this land and all its people. Yellow could symbolise the sun, as it does on the aboriginal flag. Green is the main colour of the Torres Straight Islander's flag. Since the national colours represent all Australians, they also cover everyone automatically. Specific representation will only mean division.
This is a Victorian colonial flag born out of the Eureka Rebellion of 1854 - a deadly battle involving gold miners and their British overlords over excessive taxation. Since then it's been hijacked by all types from militant unions to ultra nationalists - and now by plenty so desperate to change the flag that they'll grab anything. The colours are wrong, the symbolism is wrong, the history is wrong. As interesting it is as a historical flag from early colonial times, it's totally inappropriate for a new Australian flag.
Vexillology is the study of flags.
1. Keep It Simple - The flag should be so simple that a child can draw it from memory
2. Use Meaningful Symbolism - The flag's images, colours, or patterns should relate to the symbolism expressed
3. Use 23 Basic Colours - Limit colours on the flag to three; ensure they contrast well and come from the standard colour set
4. No Lettering or Seals - Never use writing of any kind or an organisations seal
5. Be Distinctive or Be Related - Avoid duplicating other flags; use similarities to show connections
In heraldry, there are basic principles that vexillology often follows. Existing are five colours of red, blue, green, purple and black, and two metals of gold (yellow) and silver (white). One metal cannot run adjacent to another metal, nor one colour can run adjacent to another colour. This is to ensure a bold design.
More information: Click
When attempting new Australian flags, adding green and gold in unison onto a blue field traditionally causes big problems if the Federation Star and Southern Cross is to be preserved. The stars also must be white or, at least, yellow, so must have a dark background. Stripes or bars typically mean space is compromised, so the Federation Star is dumped, the Southern Cross made smaller, or something really radical is tried.
The most successful and famous flags in the world are very simple designs that are both instantly recognisable and instant identifiable with unique primary design elements. They are also understated, trying to say very little about the country. Think of Japan, Switzerland, Canada, USA, France, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Greece - all classic flags and classic, simple designs and highly prominent.
A flag is supposed to represent unity, not division. Even a division of 10% is too much. It's on principle that if a significant portion of the population do not accept the flag, it must change. That principle must triumph any personal view on the flag.
In Australia, the significant proportion that do no like the current national flag is consistently 30-40%. At sporting events, the percentage is just as significant of people choosing to wave simple green and gold flags or boxing kangaroos. They don't even cut the current flag in half and just fly the Southern Cross, which shows the Cross is not strong enough on its own, nor are blue and white relevant to Australians wanting to show pride. They don't even wear blue and white. They wear the national colours of green and gold. This contrasts starkly with just about every other nation on the planet that choose to fly their national flag. Survey the percentage of their population that don't like their own flag and it would be practically zero. Check sporting events and see flags other than their own national flag that people wave. Again, zero.
The greatest resistance to changing the flag are: 1) People like, or are used to, the current one; 2) No alternate design has proved inspiring.
Looking back on history, the existing national flag, while designed in 1901, only became official in 1954. Previously, the Union Flag was the official flag, with a Red Ensign (national flag with red background) usually flown as well, with occasion and some circumstance to only fly the Blue Ensign (typically government purposes). Newausflag.com proposes a similar situation. Other than a referendum for a simple straight swap to a new flag, the nation inaugurates a national Flag Day and adopts a second official flag, with the current flag to retain precedence in situations that only one flag can be flown. At all other times, both flags are flown. Obviously this new flag must offer a clear delineation between current and new. The people can then make the decision themselves as to the flag they chose best represents them. Over time, if there's a movement to the new flag, it can become official, while the Blue Ensign is consigned to subordinate status or archived totally.
If ever the new flag does become a official, Flag Day would become the official national day, with Australia Day renamed and downgraded to a non public holiday, or removed from the calendar.
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Last Update: 24 January 2015 (updated text in Flag Discussion and National Colours)