Most Americans’ knowledge of Australian politics and cultural norms start and end with Paul Hogan. I’m basically no different.
I’ve always been fascinated by the Commonwealth of Nations, that group of countries that, though no longer formally part of the British empire as such, nonetheless continue to recognize the British monarch as their head of state. Some nations feature the monarch on their money and/or other national emblems and flags.
Australia’s flag carries the Union Jack in its upper left field and has through almost every iteration. For many, this is wholly appropriate reflection of Australian political history. For others, it’s an outdated pean to a colonialism: imperial design never reflects the stories of occupied peoples, nor does it project Australia as a modern, independent nation. Empire loves to build dependency, so these are two-sides, really, of the same coin.
A group called Ausflag today unveiled a possible remedy (featured image). It drops the Union Jack and preserves and enlarges the other classic elements. As for timing, today is Australia Day, which celebrates the landing of the British in 1788. It’s also worth noting that there are movements afoot to transform Australia from parliamentary constitutional monarchy to republic.