The Instigator
BPLPY
Pro (for)
The Contender
JimmyRussell
Con (against)

That Australia should adopt a new National Flag

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/21/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 750 times Debate No: 100110
Debate Rounds (4)
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BPLPY

Pro

The topic of this debate is:

'That Australia should adopt a new National Flag'

I will debate the Affirmative, and the opponent the Negative.
The opponent will be preferably an Australian citizen, or someone with experience in the Australian political landscape.

1st Round: Acceptance
2nd Round: Points
3rd Round: Points and Rebuttals
4th Round: Rebuttals

I look forward to an enlightening and interesting debate.
JimmyRussell

Con

I accept this debate, I will be arguing against Australia adopting a new national flag.
I am an Australian citizen, and have substantial knowledge about Australian politics, hopefully I can bring some new things to consider.

I am assuming basic rules like no ad hominem attacks, no logical fallacies, cite your sources etc. are in place.

I too look forward to an interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1
BPLPY

Pro

To begin, I would like to thank the Negative for accepting this debate, as well as acknowledging the traditional owners of the land that this debate revolves around, for me the Wurundjeri people. I would like to acknowledge their elders past, present and future.

The flag of Australia is what represents Australia on an international level. It is not our politicians, but our flag that embodies the Australian system and way of life on the international stage. It is potentially the most important role in Australian society, that of the flag, yet the Australian flag does not live up to this role.

For the first (second) round, I will present my solution to the issue, and my points will focus on the problems with our current flag, what is wrong and why; mainly focusing on its lack of recognition of the Indigenous Australian history, and it's lack of distinctiveness in the international assortment of flags. The points of my second (third) round will emphasise the benefits of a new flag, and why a instituting a new flag is vastly preferable to remaining with the status quo.
Finally, I will rebut the fallacies presented by the opposition in my final round.

The solution to the problem is as follows. The Australian government should be open to artistic suggestions from the Australian public, and hold a competition for the flag design. The shortlisted flags should be the ones with the most signatories behind them, including the current flag.
The question should then be put to the people, in a vote with up to five flag options. The flag with the most votes should become the flag of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Now, let us delve into the many problems and issues with our current flag.

The first problem with the flag, is its lack of recognition of the history of the Indigenous people of Australia. The flag of Australia should be symbolic of our history and culture, as well as the official status of our nation.
In the US, we see the 50 modern states, and 13 original colonies represented on the flag. In the U.K, we see the Fusion of the Scottish, Irish and English flags, symbolic of the history of the nation.
Yet in Australia, we do not see an accurate representation of our history. Australia was colonised around 200 years ago, yet the Indigenous people of Australia were here for at least 40,000 years before that. Yet our flag does not recognise this in any way. Our flag only acknowledges the British history in Australia, which is actually less that 0.49% of the history of people in Australia. Flags should represent their history, and the Australian flag does not accurately do this.
I do not believe in the installation of the Indigenous flag, but in a flag that represents their history accurately. I do not think that they should be recognised purely because they are Indigenous, but because a flag should recognise history. If the majority of Australian history happens to be Indigenous, then they should be represented on the flag.

The second issue with the flag, its its lack of distinctiveness from other flags. There are numerous examples of us having our flag confused with other flags containing the Union Jack. It also fails to distinguish us as and independent nation. Nations such as Canada have a flag of their own, which does not contain the Union Jack. Having the Union Jack can give the incorrect impression that we are effectively governed by Britain, which is simply incorrect.
The flag of Australia should be recognised internationally, and should be a flag that separates us from the UK. There is precedence for this, that being Canada, who changed their flag but maintain the same status as Australia with a UK head of state. The Canadian flag is recognised all over the world, yet few outside the Pacific can accurately name the Australian Flag.

The flag of a nation is the face of the nation. The flag should recognise its history, and be easily recognisable. The Australian flag fails on both these fronts, due to it failing to acknowledge the other 99.51% of our Indigenous history, and failing to distinguish Australia from other Commonwealth nations.
JimmyRussell

Con

To begin, I think I should start off with a little bit of history of Australia.

Before European explorers came and settled in Australia, there were the many hundreds of indigenous tribes. The indigenous peoples of Australia had initially come to Australia between 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. Since the first years they arrived, the Indigenous Australians lived as a hunter-gatherer society, this type of lifestyle continued on for all the way up until European settlers arrived. In their time in Australia they made no inventions, had not discovered the wheel, had no concept of "Agriculture", they did not build any permanent settlements, they invented no form of written language, destroyed much of Central Australia's forest and turned it into dry bush land. In general they made very little advancement from their initial culture when they arrived in Australia, in fact their biggest achievement can be said to be their cultural stories and oral traditions. The only reason the indigenous population of Australia survived was due to it's extreme isolation. When European settlers came in they attempted to establish good relations with the native Aborigines, however they were met with hostility from various Aboriginal tribes. Conflicts between the settlers and indigenous people killed many native Aborigines, disease however killed many more. Eventually, the British took control of parts of Australia and began building cities, roads and farms. It was around this time that the continent of Australia came out of the Stone Age. Since the founding of the colony, it was used as a penal colony, Irish and British criminals were sent to Australia by the shipload to build up the wealth and strength of the colony. There are many written accounts of the troubled times that the settlers went through, and it stayed like that up until the gold rush. The gold rush saw many more immigrants come into Australia, people from the UK, Germany, America, China and many other countries all came to dig for gold, this enriched the nation so much that population multiplied by many times. The gold rush economic boom period was a defining moment in Australia's history, and was the focal point for much of Australian Culture, many famous figures including Ned Kelly and Banjo Patterson, came out of this period. The boom of the gold rush eventually came to an end, however it left behind some of the greatest and most advanced cities of it's day, cities like Melbourne and Sydney were far greater than anything seen in most of Europe. When the economic boom came to an end, it left behind a strong feeling of nationalism among most Australians, this eventually led to the Federation of Australia, and in turn, the development of a flag. The flag chosen was the winner of a competition in which there were 32,823 entries. The winning entry was very similar to the flag that is used today, however the star in the original flag is 6 pointed (1 point for each state), while the modern flag has 7 points. This flag itself has been used in both world wars, and many other wars in which Australia has fought.

Okay, now that that's out of the way I will get onto my points on why we don't need or want a flag change.
Point 1: A large majority of Australians do not actually want the flag to be changed[1], these are the veterans of wars in which they have fought under the flag for Australia. To change the flag would be a spit in the face to all the men who have died for our country. These are also the ones who grew up under the flag, the same study reports that in fact the youngest of Australia (under 18) have by far the highest rates of support for retaining our original flag. Is it fair for us to change the flag when those who will be living under it the longest don't actually want the flag to change? The statistics are clear, Australia does not want a new flag.

Point 2: The current Australian flag has a unique culture behind it. When people living outside of Australia see it's flag, they don't just see the blue ensign and a couple of stars, they see the culture that makes Australia what it is. Changing the flag would leave a cultural hole behind, unlike the red ensign used in Canada which was largely an icon of the British, and not made by or for the Canadian people. The modern Canadian flag has been around since before a clear "Canadian" culture existed. In other words the Canadian culture developed under their flag, the same could not be said about Australia if it adopted a new flag now.

I hope this gives you some ideas consider, I will save some of my other points for the next round.

[1]http://www.roymorgan.com...
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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