Opinion: Changing Our Flag Doesn’t Dishonour Our Veterans, It Honours All Of Us

We won’t be becoming a Republic anytime soon, that’s blaring obvious. The royals are still popular, and William and Kate are well liked, and their baby is very cute and all that. Polls show that a change to a Republic is not on the top of anybodies minds.

Something we can do, while remaining a Commonwealth country – just like Canada has done, and now New Zealand seems ready to do is change our flag to better represent our modern and constantly changing country.

We are not a British colony anymore, or part of the great “British Empire”. We remain close to England, as we should. It remains part of our past, and our future. However we do not need their flag stuck in the corner of ours. We need something that better represents our location, culture, history and Indigenous population who remain totally ignored when it comes to our nations flag.

One of the arguments made by those who oppose a change to the flag is that diggers in wars “served and died under that flag”. It is true our flag was used during previous wars, however so was the Union Jack. The main issue with that argument is that they weren’t fighting for a piece of cloth, they were fighting for the people and ideals the flag represents. Changing what is on the flag doesn’t undermine, dishonour or discredit what they did for our country. Canada changed their flag, and there is no doubt that their present war fighters feel any different fighting under the Maple Leaf than the Union Jack.

There are some great ideas floating around, any choice should be made based on pleasantness, and appropriateness. But also how it represents what we believe our ideals, history and location are. Clearly the Southern Cross should remain, keeping an iconic part of our current flag while also representing our location on the planet. 

Our Indigenous population should be represented, something that highlights their own special and individual culture is important to be central to any new flag. A example is below, highlighting the great Indigenous art.

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Or else adding some elements that reflect Indigenous artefacts such as the shape of the boomerang, as well as the colours from the Aboriginal flag could also be added.

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AusFlag, a Twitter account calling for a new flag has some other ideas and examples of what our flag could look like.

Whatever the end result is, it’s time to have a proper debate about our flag.

Opinion: Tabloid Media, The Commentators And The Dole Bludger Smear

For some reason my television was on Channel Nine at 7.00pm tonight, don’t blame me I wasn’t in control of the remote. I peered my head from my laptop to see Tracy Grimshaw introduce a report about ‘dole bludgers,’ not being a regular A Current Affair viewer, but knowing the gist of these reports, I readied myself for my usual outburst of frustration and anger.

Yet another tabloid beat up about these jobless scum who are using OUR TAX DOLLARS to live it up on the embarrassingly low newstart allowance. I was not let down, it was exactly what I had feared.

Exhibit A: AM radio shock jock Neil Mitchell demanding these bludgers not “sleep in” and go to job interviews

Exhibit B: Rent an opinion News Corp. writer Susie O’Brien screaming about the laziness of these people (if only they could get a job whining on the television about others)

and Exhibit C: Selected vox pops from random people outside a Centrelink office.

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The unemployed – all lumped in together (photo: pbs.org)

The main bone of this story is that some newstart recipients were not attending scheduled job interviews. Fair enough, they should right? Ok let’s all agree and move on. However what this was, was yet another tabloid piece bashing those who find themselves without a job.

Ignoring rising unemployment, a much higher youth unemployment rate, a budget that is scaring the shit out of everyone and an uncertain economy, the idea that we should be lambasting those without a job is offensive.

These reports only strengthen the narrative that those without a job aren’t trying. They are lazy, they don’t want to work, and most bizarrely they ‘enjoy the lifestyle’. I don’t know how you can enjoy living below the poverty line and not even be able to pay your own rent, let alone buy anything else on the newstart allowance.

I know people, who have earned a degree and cannot find work, they even apply for jobs that don’t require a degree, are outside of their discipline and still cannot find work. Are they lazy? Do they not try? Despite countless applications and interviews, are they still dole bludgers?

No, but these reports and any articles based on this nonsense lumps them in with the tiny fraction of people who don’t care, or don’t bother. This shames all those people who are serious about looking for work, and face the embarrassment of being jobless, as well as the potential economic pain that comes with it. On top of that, they get told they are part of a group of people who are lazy and beneath the rest of society.

That isn’t fair, and the people who are responsible for these stories know it, and they are either too ignorant to realise it, or worse, they don’t care.

TV: Bring On The Variety!

There is renewed talk that the Australian television networks are looking at reviving the variety format, which since the end of Rove in 2009 has been largely absent from local television.

Since In Melbourne Tonight and Don Lane to Hey! Hey! It’s Saturday and Rove, variety has been a constant on Australian television. It’s hosts are some of televisions most renowned and loved figures, however since Micallef Tonight in 2003, I would be hard pressed to remember any new shows of this type that have come up from the commercial networks.

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Don Lane and Graham Kennedy (photo: channel nine)

In fact the networks have been reluctant to do comedy at all in the last decade, many of their attempts (mostly sketch) have failed. Let Loose Live! was a two episode dud and Ben Elton’s Live from Planet Earth was a total embarrassment for Channel Nine.

However the ABC in particular has seen great success with comedy panel shows, sketch shows and sitcoms. In fact Seven even convinced the producers to move Kath & Kim over to the network for their last season. It seems the commercial channels are unwilling to breed new talent, and are ever too reliant on recycling the same few ‘network personalities’. 

The latest reports of a variety revival are no different. Larry Emdur, Andrew O’Keefe, Karl Stefanovic and Charlie Pickering are all well known television personalities. Only Pickering is an active comedian, and in my own personal opinion the best talent for a comedy/variety show in the vein of Rove Live.

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Charlie Pickering (photo: smh)

Pickering is fast, smart and agile. He has shown for five years on The Project he can handle interviews with celebrities, politicians and everyday people. He is also cheeky and smart – he can handle himself. Being a stand-up comic he has the ability to do a good monologue, and contribute to the writing process. 

Variety shows are important, I’d argue one of the most important shows a smaller market like Australia can make, they promote local actors and music, employ large amounts of staff from a diverse range of departments and can be broadcast live, which means it is more likely to be watched live – as well as engage a social media audience.

Australia has been calling out for variety show for a while now, but it remains to be seen whether a network will actually follow through with one, and not just balk like so many times before.