Affairs

Politics

Oceania Briefing— Global

Preface

National identity in Australia, Tonga and Fiji's territorial dispute and rugby World Cup headache in New Zealand.

Identity Territory Rugby Australia Tonga Fiji New Zealand

Flagging design

Australia [NATIONAL IDENTITY]

A coalition including more than a dozen Australians of the Year wants to dump the national flag, with its British-heritage Union flag in one corner (the rest of the flag features stars on a blue background). The bid is also adding fuel to a bigger debate: should Australia abandon the British monarchy? Opponents of the flag – mocked as “Britain by Night” by the American comedian Jerry Seinfeld – say it is an embarrassing relic of the colonial era at home and confusing overseas. “It’s time Australia grew…

Other former colonies who made the switch:

1. Canada: The now-familiar Maple Leaf was introduced in 1965, replacing a flag which had previously incorporated the Union Jack.

2. Papua New Guinea: The South Pacific island went through six different designs, each reflecting a period of political history, before its current flag (a bird of paradise against a red and black background) was introduced in 1971.

3. Sri Lanka: The gold lion holding a sword, which forms the main part of Sri Lanka’s flag, was the symbol of the country’s independence movement in the early 20th century.

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