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Should the Australian flag be changed?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,251 times Debate No: 89711
Debate Rounds (3)
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The Australian flag needs to be changed as it does not represent the Australia of today. We are a country that embraces our indigenous culture and strives for innovation. The Australian flag of the current date does not include these aspects of Australian culture and henceforth should be changed.


This debate ultimately is about whether or not Australia should retain the Union Jack on its flag (which is positioned in the canton of the flag).

The Australian Nation is a British Nation. Our institutions, values and beliefs are all derived from Great Britain. But, what does it mean to be British? The conventional definition would be that being British means that you are a citizen (or a permanent resident) of the nation-state of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But, within Britain itself there is diversity among the constituent nations. You may be English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish; each of these groups have their distinct accents and regional differences; and here is the key: regional differences. When Australia and other dominion nations were granted self-governance, the people in those colonies were considered British who lived in a 'distinct region' which overtime led to differences in how people lived and shaped some of their values accordingly. But, ultimately, these nations were and still are British. Australia and Canada have more in common with each other, than Australia and the United States.

In essence, being 'British' is not neither a nationality nor even a citizenship, but a distinct set of values and beliefs. Beliefs such as multiculturalism, the rule of law, parliamentary democracy, respect for the classics, etc. The Union Jack is a symbol of who we are as Australians, whether we like it or not. It is a symbol of unity and continuity. It a symbol that we are part of something greater than ourselves. Therefore, I argue, let us keep the Union Jack.
Debate Round No. 1


The negative has confined the debate to be a discussion on the inclusion of the Union Jack on the Australian flag. I agree with this confinement even though the flag could be altered and still include the Union Jack.

Australia is British nation and does inhibit the sets of values put forward by the negative such as multiculturalism, the rule of law, parliamentary democracy and respect for the classics. However, many countries that are not a part of the British Union exhibit these qualities. In addition, whilst Australia has these qualities, they do not define us.

The Union Jack comprises of three different crosses representing the history of Great Britain. This represents the nation of the United Kingdom today. Canada, with a climate and history much different to that of the United Kingdom, has changed its flag to a maple leaf the represent the countries national symbol.

The question now is... what exactly defines Australia? As the affirmative I believe that these factors are our Indigenous culture, remembrance for the ANZAC soldiers, our green and gold sporting achievements and our island geography. None of these elements are represented in the current Australian flag.

The Union Jack does not express our individualism and culture. This is hence why it is imperative that the Australian flag be changed.


I am glad that the affirmative has agreed with my assertion that Australia is a British nation. In fact, I think these qualities do define us.

The affirmative has asked what defines Australia. The answer is nothing. We are a transplant society, and as a result our society has developed in accordance with the results of a transplant of any society under the same conditions as Australia. Our indigenous culture does not define us, although we like to think it does. It has no bearing on Australian culture, nor has it affected our institutions. It's only a token we like to wave in order to assert a phantom identity.

Look at other nations, particularly France, or nations in Europe. France was founded in the 700s under Charlemagne, and is arguably Europe's longest and most continuous nation-state. Other nations in Europe have existed for a long period as well; but all of them have spilt blood for centuries in order to become a nation and to assert their identity. Yes, Australia fought in WWI and WWII but this was not for our survival for our existence, it was a fight for the whole world and Australia cannot claim exclusivity on any of these wars. Imagine trying to tell a French person that we have as much claim to an identity and to a nation as they do? They would laugh at us! It's absolutely arrogant to try and even make Australia look like a nation when everything was handed to us on a silver platter. We were given self-governance; we didn't have to fight for it.

Canada might have adopted their own flag, but I don't care about Canada. I care about Australia. We are Australia, and we are a Colony of Her Majesty's Realm. Our nation was founded under this flag, and should continue to be united under this flag. Otherwise, we would seek to be something that we simply are not.
Debate Round No. 2


The negative has stated that the qualities of being Australian that I brought up in the last round were incorrect. They stated that we were a transplant society and that our indigenous people are tokens we like to wave in order to assert a phantom identity. Overall, the negative had many contradictory points which I will address in my case.

The negative has left an impression on us that Australia is just a slab of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a group of islanders who pretend to have identity when they actually don't. They also said: our country didn't have to fight for self-governance and so we don't deserve a new flag. These are all incorrect statements.

Australia is considered the 'lucky country' by most refugees. This is mainly because Australians have freedom of speech and their opinions are all considered. The negative seems to be denying this fact by stating that Australians say that their identity lies within the Aboriginal people but it does not. Australians are essentially what make up Australia and to say that all of their views are invalid would be tyrannical. If Australians believe that Indigenous people are an essential part of our society and Australians make up Australia... obviously Australia holds these values.

The negative has stated that Indigenous people have not affected our institutions. Australians took a huge step in reconciliation via the words of Kevin Rudd. Is this not a fundamental part of our history and furthermore institutions?

Whilst the negative believes that because we haven't fought in order to become a nation, we do not deserve a unique flag. Why does a war need to be the defining factor of whether of country has a rich history? Isn't the point of being Australian the fact that we are free from war, embrace our indigenous culture and live a lifestyle like no other on Earth.

"It is arrogant to make Australian look like a nation!"
Australia is a country rich with history that deserves a unique flag of its own.


The affirmative has attempted to rebut my arguments, but has misunderstood or misinterpreted what I have said. So, I will attempt a clarification here.

First, I stated that Australia does not have an identity of 'its own'. We do have an identity, but it is a British identity.

Second, when Australians refer to identity, to what do we refer? What is our unique identity? Is it to celebrate Australia Day watching the Cricket whilst drinking beer with a 'shrimp on the barbie...' If so, then I am ashamed of our culture. Australians asserting our own identity is nothing more than cultural vandalism. If we want to change the Flag, then why not change the names of all the cities of Australia, because they are all derived from Britain and are a reminder of our colonial heritage? Why don't we stop speaking English and adopt a new language, the Australian language, because English is a colonial language... Of course, all of these things are unrealistic and would never happen; we are only willing to assert own identity when it is easy - remove the Union Jack here, change 'colonization' to 'invasion' etc. But, when it's hard... Oh no, no, no. The point is that our colonial heritage and our British heritage will always be a part of our history and social institutions. We shouldn't attempt to stifle these symbols that are representative of our identity, we should seek to embrace these symbols and be global citizens - British subjects.

Third, my point about war and identity was not that because we didn't fight for our country, therefore we don't have an identity. We don't have an Australian identity full-stop. My point was that it is arrogant to try and have an equal claim to nationhood compared with other nations, when they have suffered so much more, like the United States.

We are not a nation; we are a Colony. The Union Jack on our flag and the other symbols serves as a reminder of who we are and where we are. We live in the British Empire, and it is glorious!
Debate Round No. 3
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