Last modified: 2003-07-18 by jonathan dixon
Keywords: australia |
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Two weeks ago the Australian prime minister Paul Keating announced that he would turn Australia from a monarchy into a republic in 2001. Did he tell during that speech in the Australian parliament something about the Australian flag? And if yes, what did he say exactly on this particular subject?
Jos Poels, 25 June 1995
There's even less support for changing the flag than changing the Constitution. I guess he thought the Constitutional change would be more likely to fail if it was tied to the flag issue. Besides, the flag can be changed by an ordinary law in Parliament, while Constitutional change requires a referendum with a majority of all voters, and a majority of voters in 4 of 6 states.
Christopher Vance 20 June 1995
Support for an Australian republic is around 55-60%. Support for a new flag is lower, and depending upon which opinion poll you read, ranges from 35% to 50%. People have always been at pains to point out the two issues are separate and should be debated separately.
I think the most likely scenario that would lead to a new flag would be a YES vote at a referendum to become a republic, scheduled to be in late 1998 or early 1999. That would give around 18 months for the public to contemplate whether they would like a new flag in time for the declaration of a republic in 2001.
I also think having resolved the republic question, the flag debate would be given a new immediacy.
A new flag is conceptually (and legally) far more simple than becoming a republic. Public support for a new flag could grow quite quickly, and I don't think 18 months is too short a time period for such a change to occur. Canada did it in 9 months.
Brendan Jones 29 June 1995