Tasmanian Times


A dream of the future … as Tasmanian Aboriginals commemorate Invasion Day

HERE is a design for the Australian flag that I made in 1992, which hung in my shop in Bellerive for many years. Tasmanian Aborigines once threatened to rip it down and burn it, if I did not take it down. I left it up.

Rather than replacing the Union Jack with the Aboriginal flag, with this design we see the sun rising over the great sunburnt land down under, with the southern cross as seen in our night sky.

Who knows, maybe this flag would even be acceptable to New Zealand, who also share a love of the southern cross and already have a national flag quite similar to our present flag.

As we dream of the future, it may be better to look to a bold new design that includes our ancient past and also shows that we may have a future among the stars, if we choose this.

The new design and vision for Australia may also inspire that bold new national anthem that everyone is now talking about, but no one has yet heard.

This design is a little similar to the national flag of Papua New Guinea, which has the southern cross on a black ground and a bird of paradise.

The flag of the Northern Territory also has the southern cross on a black ground.

As we look toward winning independence from the British crown and enter upon a new future as a republic, we can explore what we are as an ancient land and a brand new nation.

HERE: Andrew Darby: Bridge over troubled indigenous waters

HERE: Tasmanian Aborigines commemorate Invasion Day

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    January 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Comment 10’s claim of “Asian nations are third world. We would have to wait many hundreds of years for their cultures to catch up just on that basis” needs careful investigation.

    Generally speaking, it may have been true three decades ago, but in many ways these so-called Asian countries have caught up in so many ways in less than a third of a century, let alone “several”.

    As for what ‘Third World’ means, or meant, Wikipedia opens its page with this introduction –

    “The term Third World arose during the Cold War to define countries that remained non-aligned or neutral with either capitalism and NATO (which along with its allies represented the First World) or communism and the Soviet Union (which along with its allies represented the Second World). This definition provided a way of broadly categorizing the nations of the Earth into three groups based on social, political, and economic divisions. Although the term continues to be used colloquially to describe the poorest countries in the world, this usage is widely disparaged since the term no longer holds any verifiable meaning after the fall of the Soviet Union deprecated the terms First World and Second World. While there is no identical contemporary replacement, common alternatives include developing world and Global South.”

    Link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World

    As well, what is meant by “Asian”?

    In Australia, it usually means East Asia (China, Japan and the Koreas) and SE Asia (Indonesia, Malysia, Singapore, Vietnam, etc). I guess few of our people would reflexively see India, say, as Asian, and that they’d not see the Middle East as Asian.

    Whereas, in GB, “Asian” almost always means India and Pakistan, until second and third thoughts begin.

    Whatever, most of them are now a long way beyond Third World status – if you want genuine Third World conditions, head across the Indian Ocean: J Malcolm Fraser’s little mate’s Zimbabwe would be a suitable starting point, before heading for all points North.

  2. Kim Peart

    January 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Re: 10 – Steven Ridd

    Unless one is a dedicated creationist, then we may wonder what the purpose of evolution is. If it is about making fat Australians who are more concerned with wealth than progress, then we may be left in the dust as nations look beyond Earth in the coming decades.

    Could Australia have progressed without investment? If we wish to have a vibrant future, then unless we seriously invest in space development, Keating’s banana republic may be our future. If we choose to advance our national interests, even in an Australasian-Oceania partnership, then a vision for space holds the hope of an open and unlimited future.

    Though space development is initially costly, once manufacturing is established in space, using energy from the Sun where it never sets and resources from the Moon, asteroids and in time Mars and Venus, a line will be reached in space development where no further resources will be needed from Earth. That is when the investment returns to Earth a million times and more. I call this the Liberty Line and if we choose to be left out of this game, we will deserve whatever we fail to receive.

    Any nation that makes a vital commitment to design toward the future Solar System economy, can begin to build its current economy in the light of a future beyond Earth. If we are not in the space game, we will be left on Earth and our best and brightest will move to nations that are investing in a stellar future.

    Building Earth-gravity star cities, or islands in space, will open the Solar System to habitation. With no cost to production beyond the Liberty Line, we can now choose to be in the game of building the future, or by default decide to be a country of monkeys fighting over bananas.

    Even Indonesia is ahead of Australia with space at present, developing their own rockets. Are we destined to be the last abandoned mine on Earth under Indonesia’s shadow in space?

    If we can step out from beneath the shadow of the Union Jack and Uncle Sam’s top hat, what would the flag be like that flew the true colours of Oceania in space? We would see the great sunburnt land Down Under from above and the stars of the Southern cross in a velvet black sky: and the Sun would be the energy that powered our future. What would the national song be that we sang on Mt Kosciuszko or on our islands in space?

    Kim Peart

  3. Kim Peart

    January 29, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Re: 10 – Steven Ridd

    A number of times Australia has been on the verge of conflict with Indonesia, especially when the Indonesian military has pursued West Papuans across the border into PNG. Should the United States be distracted and Jakarta revive its earlier expansionist zeal, they may decide to send the border east past Torres Straight to the Solomon Islands, in the name of friendship. Why not? Indonesia’s current occupation and suppression of West Papua is built on the flimsiest of moral or historic grounds, but the strongest economic and strategic incentives.

    We cannot question Indonesia’s dominion of half of New Guinea, without being prepared to go to war and the East Timor experience has demonstrated the depth to which they will go and get away with in aggression and revenge. Because Indonesia is Asian, we blindly apply different standards, but why? If it is good enough for Australia to apologise to the Aboriginal people and maybe look toward a treaty, why not invite Indonesia to apologise to the West Papuans for the invasion and occupation of their land, the destruction of their ancient cultures and the cheating of West Papuans of a free and fair vote on independence in 1969. They would not get away with that today and the fact that we helped them pull off that amazing scam only four decades ago, could now place Australia’s future security at risk.

    There is a dark side to the 1969 Moon landing, when it happened at the same time as the supposedly free and fair West Papuan vote on independence. Nixon was in Jakarta at the time, specifically to draw attention and reporters away from the greatest crime of the twentieth century: the theft of a land the size of France and the permanent enslavement of the West Papuan people under Indonesian dominion. What right did we have to assist slave-runners and a slow-motion genocide that continues behind closed borders?

    During the last Ice Age, ending about 6,000 years ago, New Guinea and Tasmania were joined to Australia in a larger land mass called Meganesia. The Papuans of New Guinea are therefore not entirely separate from Aborigines, but share many common cultural and ancestral bonds. Many observers have commented on the similarities between the Tasmanian Aborigines and the Papuans of New Guinea. The type of board that was nailed to trees around Tasmania, to tell the Aborigines of British law, was also nailed to trees around West Papua, to tell them how to become good Indonesians.

    Kim Peart

  4. Kim Peart

    January 27, 2010 at 8:56 am

    3: Stephen C. When a flag design is one of our national flags, it is amazing that an individual can control where it appears in art or in the media. How far can this copyright control go? Could the aboriginal flag appear in a painting by a leading artist that then appears in a newspaper and magazine and also on the Internet? The denial of use of a national flag in art, as with the Google image, makes us a weird mob.

    6: Steven Ridd & 8: John Wade. Before Australia gets too intimate with Asia, should the West Papuan issue be resolved? Though Australia has helped nail the coffin shut and bury the West Papuan people under an Indonesian flag, their spectre keeps raising the morning star flag and the war goes on in this slow-motion genocide on our northern doorstep. An area the size of France was only dragged into Indonesia on the basis of an Indonesian-run vote for independence, when 1025 selected men were lectured under the shadow of guns in 1969 and told to step over a line drawn in the dirt as the method of voting. We went along with that. What are we made of?

    Australia as a nation has not yet risen. We have yet to stand on our own feet as a people of this land. We are simply a developed nation, but this could all too easily be swept away if we fail to build for the future. Do we have a serious space program? As nations start to expand beyond Earth to access the resources of the Solar System, beginning with energy, where will we be? What we have may become old hat. We need to stand and see the future, if we wish to remain a developed and progressive nation. We need a vision that includes Earth and space and look to building Earth-gravity star cities. We are a wealthy nation with the technology, resources and clever people able to reach beyond. The flag we work under and sometimes fight under, should reflect who we are and what we are becoming. When we have a vision as a nation, which may be in partnership with New Zealand and New Guinea, then our vision for the land and future will be a uniting force that inspires our way forward. Immigrants would come to join our vision and participate in our adventure under the stars of the southern cross.

    Kim Peart

  5. Leonard Colquhoun

    January 26, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Comment 6’s “Like the European Union and Parliament based in Strasbourg France, Australia would be unravelled from a nation into a state” is in trouble from its very first word – “like”.

    Our northern and north-western neighbours, near and far (unlike the European nations which form the EU) have so much LESS in common with each other that using the word ‘like’ is misleading.

    There is very little chance of the ASEAN nations agreeing to an EU-style ‘more perfect union’; there is even less chance of India, China and Japan agreeing to anything remotely like that.

    “Like” we ain’t.

  6. Justa Bloke

    January 26, 2010 at 12:45 am

    Leunig had it right. The flag should be a sheet of galvanised iron. After all, we’ve all fought under that. What’s more, no bastard can burn it.

    Currently the only countries apart from Oz and NZ that have the Union Jack in the top left canton are a military dictatorship and a place that’s about to disappear.

  7. StephenC

    January 26, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I like the design, but I’m sure the owner of the red yellow and black Aboriginal logo would object and want a percentage of the royalties every time it was used.

    As should now be obvious from the Google debacle, the Aboriginal design is NOT a flag, it’s a commercial logo.

  8. Leonard Colquhoun

    January 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Sorry, Kim – it’s a lovely-looking design, but it looks too like the PNG flag, and ex-PM Keating, who knows about these things, would not approve, on the grounds that the Australian flag must NOT look like someone else’s flag.

    The fact that there are lots of flag sets which are almost indistinguishable was a matter of indifference to him who considered that you, in 7018, and me, in 7248, were just, as he put it, “camping out”.

    Of course, Keating’s cheer squad and celeb groupies could not see the irony of his urging us to change our flag to cater for the ignorance of foreigners.

    Dare one mention that wonderful expression – thank you, A A Phillips – the “cultural cringe”?



  9. Mark

    January 25, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    A flag needs to unite. The Union Jack is the main problem with the current flag as it divides and serves as a reminder of past injustices. The design pictured and words such as “Invasion Day” will never unite.

    The southern cross should remain on a dark blue background as in the night sky or the ocean. To me the red has too many connotations of blood. At the end of the day there would be a popular vote.

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