Books and Poems
Hayden (Bill Hayden – An Autobiography)
First published in Australia in 1996 by Angus & Robertson, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, Australia.
“The other symbol which seems to cause consternation to some is the national flag. I can see no compelling reason why we should change what we have. It has stood the test of time, Our people warmly respond to it. It has meaning for us, and nor do I mind the Union Jack in one corner of it. It symbolises part of our history, a valuable and fundamental past we should not try to escape or deny and which continues to enrich the present for us.
My great worry is, once one party in government carries out a wholesale redesign of this emblem, the next party to enter government could reverse that decision or bring in an altogether new format. There is the danger then of periodic changes to the national flag according to fashion, with any one design having a short shelf life. One of our most important national symbols could become as disposable as an old tissue box and lose all national respect into the bargain. It is said that no-one other than an Australian instantly recognises our flag as our national emblem, to which there may be some truth. But my view is that it is not the design of the flag that causes this, but that we are not large and powerful enough to command that sort of international attention which could focus attention on our national symbols anyway. Most other lesser world powers have exactly the same experience. The test of this is to collect a brochure of the flags of the world and see how many you can identify.
One thing is for certain, politicians will attempt to change the flag at great peril to their careers.”
We’re All Australians Now
Our six-starred flag that used to fly
Half shyly to the breeze,
Unknown where older nations ply
Their trade on foreign seas.
Flies out to meet the morning blue
With Victory at the prow;
For that’s the flag the Sydney flew,
The wide seas know it now!
And with Australia’s flag shall fly
A spray of wattle bough,
To symbolise our unity,
We’re all Australians now.
These three verses of a fourteen verse poem by Banjo Paterson were published in 1915 (during WWI) as an open letter to Australian troops. Note the reference to HMAS Sydney flying the Australian Flag at the masthead while defeating the German warship SMS Emden.