Flags Act 1953
Ralph Hunt’s Statement
Transcript of the Minister for Transport
The Hon Ralph Hunt MP
21 August 1980
Red Ensign Retained
Australian merchant ships will continue to fly the Australian Red Ensign as their national colours.
However, other civilian vessels outside the merchant service, such as fishing vessels and yachts, will be allowed to fly either the Australian National Flag or the Australian Red Ensign.
The Minister for Transport, Mr Ralph Hunt, announcing this today, said the Government had decided on the flag vessels would be required to fly after considering representations from the shipping industry, yacht clubs and the public.
Legislation introduced into Parliament in May – the Shipping Registration Bill and the Flags Amendment Bill – proposes that all Australian vessels should sail under the Australian National Flag.
However, in his second reading speech, Mr Hunt invited comment on which flag Australian ships should fly and promised that all submissions would be studied thoroughly before the Government decided finally.
Mr Hunt said today that the responses he had received, particularly from merchant service organisations, showed a strong desire to have the Australian Red Ensign retained for merchant ships.
However, a majority appeared to favour the Australian National Flag for vessels outside the merchant service and the Government had decided to allow those craft to fly either flag.
Mr Hunt added that while the Australian Red Ensign was to be retained for Australian ships, the Government considered that visiting foreign vessels should fly the Australian National Flag as the courtesy flag.