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Australian proposed flags

Last modified: 2016-05-20 by ian macdonald
Keywords: australia | proposal | southern cross | aboriginal | oceania | kangaroo |
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Ausflag proposal - 1993

[Ausflag proposal, 1993]

This is promoted by Ausflag, a nonprofit body seeking to engender public support for a new Australian flag. Recent opinion polls show only 35% support for a new flag, but the numbers are growing, and more ominously, there is 45% support for a change in the 25-39 age group.

Ausflag ran a design competition for a new Australian flag in conjunction with The Australian newspaper in late 1993, with the winning design (above) announced on 17 December 1993. The competition had a total prize pool of A$25,000, with A$15,000 going to the winner, Mark Tucker, a graphic designer from Sydney.

The red arc at the bottom represents Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock, a huge monolith in the centre of Australia), and the blue above represents our clear, wide skies. Retention of the Southern Cross was seen as crucial, as it has been incorporated into many symbols of Australia and the fact that it is extremely popular with the public.

Using red, white and blue provides continuity with our existing flag and is still symbolic of our British history without the need to replicate the British flag in its entirety as part of the design.

The copyright of this design is vested in Ausflag.
Brendan Jones

Ausflag is a voluntary, apolitical, non-profit organisation seeking to promote high-quality debate about Australia's national symbols. It was established in 1981 by Harold Scruby and other interested Australians with the objective of securing the popular support of the Australian people for the adoption of a truly Australian flag: "A flag which clearly and unequivocally proclaims our identity to other nations, a flag which is internationally recognisable and not confusing to other nations, and a flag which unites the Australian nation in all its diversity."

Ausflag is not and has never been anti-British. It is, simply, pro-Australian.

Since its inception, Ausflag has regularly promoted alternative designs for a new Australian flag, held public flag design competitions with significant reward, and otherwise promoted debate about Australia's national flag through the media and public forums.

The Ausflag site contains an unparalleled wealth of detailed, accurate, and referenced information about Australian flags. The site is divided into four main sections:

  • AUSFLAG - Information about Ausflag itself, Ausflag's flag design competitions, proposed Australian flags, how to design a flag, and promotional Ausflag posters.
  • FLAGS SINCE 1788 - A comprehensive history of Australia's flags (national, state and territory) since 1788, with flag images and information about flag changes in Australia over the years.
  • THE FLAG DEBATE - Information about the flag debate itself: opinion pieces, polls, and newspaper and magazine articles. Some newspaper clippings are provided on-line!
  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION - Information about vexillological terms, flag journals, links to other WWW flag resources and other sites, and flag references. A copy of the Australian Flags Act 1953 is also here.

Quoted from a press-release from Ausflag posted to the FOTW mailing list by Brendan Jones, 9 October 1995

Ausflag proposal - 1997

[Ausflag proposal, 1997] image by Vincent Morley

New Zealand television last night carried an item worth mentioning here. The Australian group Ausflag recently unveiled a new design for an Australian national flag. It is divided vertically into stripes of red-blue-red, with thin white fimbriation between the stripes (the approximate ratio would be 3:4:3, if the news coverage shown was anything to go by). On the blue stripe are the five stars of the Southern Cross from the current Australian flag, in white.

The flag has raised controversy on both sides of the Tasman Sea. In Australia, there are complaints that the flag does not recognise the Aboriginal peoples, and still leans far too much towards the "red, white and blue". It has been claimed by some people to be too much like the Canadian flag, and by others to be too much like the French flag.

In New Zealand, the controversy comes from another source: the design is almost identical to one that has been championed for thirty years by a New Zealand designer [Clark Titman] for a new New Zealand flag. The New Zealander (whose name escapes me, and I'll have to look it up, sorry!) appeared on New Zealand Television in 1967 with his design, which is identical with the exception of the colour and shape of the Southern Cross (which in the New Zealand flag is four five-pointed red stars outlined in white). Ausflag have put the similarity down to coincidence.
James Dignan, 29 January 1997

James describes the flag perfectly, but I think the blue stripes in the hoist and fly are of proportions 1 to 2. I too have only seen it from TV footage.
Paul B. Lindsay, 29 January 1997

Ausflag Professional Design Competition

[Winner - 2000 Ausflag Competition]
Ausflag image contributed by Ralph Kelly, 26 Jan 2000

On the eve of Australia Day, Ausflag has announced the winners of its long running Professional Design Competition.
Extracts from the media release:

Members of the Design Institute of Australia, the Australian Graphic Design Association, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Writers and Art Directors, the Australian Textile Design Association, the Flag Society of Australia and the Society of Interior Designers of Australia were invited by Ausflag to enter [the competition]. Over 2,500 entries were received
All the designs are on display on our web-site:
Details about the Competition may be found on:
2nd and 3rd place getters:
[2nd Place - 2000 Ausflag Competition] Ausflag image contributed by Ralph Kelly, 26 Jan 2000
[3rd Place - 2000 Ausflag Competition] image by Jorge Candeias, 23 Apr 2005
Ralph Kelly, 26 Jan 2000

Proposals incorporating Aboriginal flag

[Another proposed flag - Aboriginal design] image by António Martins

The previous flag violates heraldic guidelines about not having expanses of colour next to colour (e.g. large amount of red immediately abutting blue). It's only a guideline, and flags such as Haiti violate it, but generally such clashes don't look good.

Secondly, the designer of the Aboriginal flag, Harold Thomas, does not believe the Aboriginal flag should ever be used in such a way. It is a symbol in its own right, and should not be used as an adjunct or part of something else.

However, the sentiment is something I agree with, but I think design-wise it is only a first step. I think it would be better to use the Aboriginal colours in a new design, rather than a representation of the Aboriginal flag itself. See my idea of a new Australian flag for 2001. I have made this design up in cloth, 1 by 2 metres in size, and waved it at the recent Australia v England cricket test match in Sydney. I am now shamelessly seeking to promote it!
Brendan Jones

[Proposed Australian Sporting Flag] image by Jaume Olle,

This flag proposal for Australia was entered in a 1991 contest. The design, by Harold Scruby of Ausflag, was described as a revolutionary, rather than an evolutionary flag. Incorporating the colours of the Aboriginal flag, it depicts a kangaroo, in silhouette against the sun, over the great red continent.
Pete Loeser, 28 October 2014

Proposed Australian Sporting Flag

[Proposed Australian Sporting Flag] image by José Manuel Erbez Rodríguez, 25 January 2013

A group of prominent Australians dedicated to removing the Union Jack from the national flag have released their design of a new flag they intend to use at sporting events in a grassroots attempt to phase out usage of the traditional Australian flag design.
J Patrick Genna, 25 January 2013

This proposed Australian Sporting Flag was commissioned by Ausflag, following consultation with a leading local advertising agency, who brief was to approach the whole issue of Australia's national identity from a different aspect - Australians love of sport and the flying of flags at such events.

The resulting design brings together two elements that most Australians readily identify as symbols of Australian sport, the Southern Cross in its usual Australian National Flag colours of white Stars on a blue field, and our official national and sporting colours of green and gold (yellow-gold). The full media release about this flag can be found on Ausflag's website:

This campaign differs from previous Ausflag campaigns in that they are aiming to engage with Australia's sporting culture with a design which has specific sporting analogies. They hope that over time it will get Australians use to waving a flag other than the current national flag at sporting and other celebratory events.
Ralph Bartlett, 25 January 2013

Cattoni proposal: "A flag for all Australians"

[Proposed Australian Flag] image by Ed Cattoni, 21 January 2016

Symbolism: Says Australia simply with appropriate symbols and colours.

Retains the current flag’s blue background with white stars. Australia is surrounded by blue oceans plus white surf on our beaches and white
heat of the outback.

In the upper hoist (canton) of the flag is the white seven pointed Federation Star that represents current states and territories.

On the fly are 5 white stars, representing the Southern Cross to signify that we are geographically located in the southern hemisphere.

Separating the canon and fly there is a stylised three coloured boomerang crossing both the top and bottom of the flag with the same width of narrowing yellow, green and white boomerang strips and pointing toward the Star of Federation. The yellow represents Australia’s golden beaches, golden wattle, deserts and wealth while the green represents the tropical rainforests and vast open grasslands. It also reinforces Green and Gold as our official sporting colours. The final narrow white stripe provides a link to our current flag and also represents the white heat of the outback and white surf on our beaches.

Designed by Edward R. Cattoni (2015)

Poll on changing the flag

Ausflag's summary of past opinion polls is at:

I may be wrong here, but I think the most recent poll on the subject (not mentioned at Ausflag) reversed the trend argued by Ausflag - it showed a small majority wanted to retain the present flag.
David Cohen, 10 April 1999

Will state flags change?

Apart from the Ausflag sections on changing the NSW flag (which are a couple of years old now) I haven't heard anything about states changing, certainly not here in Queensland (although we'd probably be the last state to consider such an idea, Queensland's a tad conservative in some quarters). If the national flag changed and/or we became a republic then the idea might get more consideration. Strange really, as you'd think there'd be less opposition to changing states' flags. There's not nearly the same emotional attachment as there is to the national flag a lot of people wouldn't recognise state flags they're so nondescript.
Dylan Crawfoot, 18 April 1999

The Ausflag site shows two proposals for a new New South Wales flag which actually been flown in Sydney.
Jorge Candeias, 12 March 2003

[Proposed NSW flag]

[Proposed NSW flag]
images resized from the Ausflag site by Carlos Thompson, 12 March 2003

On-going activity

Ausflag, which is the main lobby group advocating a change of national flag for Australia has recently launched a new initiative. It has arranged for an Australian flag manufacturer to make and sell five new Australian flag designs. Making new flags more easily available for the Australian public to buy an fly is seen as one way to encourage interest in a flag change. The designs are long-time Ausflag proposals or variants of them.

A promotional flyer is available at (1.6 MB).
Ralph Kelly, 2 September 2010

The flag debate in Australia has been reignited in Australia with six flag designs being presented to the Australian public to vote on in the alternative Australian flag survey as it was named was by Western Sydney University researcher Dr Benjamin T. Jones. The winning design was titled Southern Horizon and the design included the Federation star and Southern cross along with the Australian colours of green and gold. The flag was an triband of unequal waves of blue over gold over green. The colour combination and placement of stars on the Southern Horizon flag have already drawn comment from the Solomon Islands about the similarity of this flag and their flag's colour combination and placement of stars. More than 8,000 responded to the Western Sydney University poll with 64% expressing a desire to change the Australian flag minus the Union flag.
John Moody, 12 March 2016