Susan O'Neill with the Australian flag, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes will never change. Picture: Peter Wallis
Susan O'Neill with the Australian flag, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull believes will never change. Picture: Peter Wallis

Flag will never be changed: PM

MALCOLM Turnbull believes Australia's national flag will never be changed.

Like the date of Australia Day, the design of our flag is a constant source of debate, especially around January 26.

However Prime Minister Turnbull, speaking after a National Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra today, believes Australia's flag will stay as it is because there is no desire for change.

"I don't think the Australian flag will ever be changed," he said.

"I think Australians, particularly younger Australians, Australians younger than me, say, my children's generation, they don't deconstruct the Australian flag.

"They don't say: 'Well, there's a Union Jack, that's the flag of another country'. They look at it as one Australian symbol. That's the one they have on their backpacks when they're travelling overseas, that's the flag that our soldiers have on their shoulder patches, that is our flag.

"So, I think the Australian flag will be flying over Parliament House long after all of us have shuffled off the stage of history."

Mr Turnbull spoke at the Citizenship Ceremony on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, in which he welcomed hundreds of people as new citizens.

He begun his speech by welcoming those present to Ngunnawal country.

The Prime Minister then surprised by issuing a welcome in indigenous language.

Governor-general General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the 2018 Australia Day citizenship ceremony in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith
Governor-general General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the 2018 Australia Day citizenship ceremony in Canberra. Picture: Kym Smith

He then referenced the indigenous contribution to Australia.

"Our sense of identity is strengthened by their (First Australians') stories and songs, dance and

art, practices and ceremonies," he said.

"We honour their resilience and survival, respect and cherish their continuing contribution to our nation. It's a heritage of which we are proud and which we celebrate, it's uniquely Australian.

"We haven't always recognised this truth as we should've done, but all of us, including our newest citizens, are heirs to this history, and it's our duty to learn, embrace, and help preserve it."

Mr Turnbull has repeatedly said he does not want to change the date of Australia Day from January 26 amid protests across the country.

New proposed design of the Australian flag by Ausflag Limited
New proposed design of the Australian flag by Ausflag Limited

However he did acknowledge the "tragic impact of European settlement".

"What we should be focusing on is the recognition of our First Australians, the recognition of, and the honest and open and truthful recognition of our history," he told reporters.

"Our history, Australia's history, overwhelmingly is a bright story of success.

"But the impact of European settlement on Aboriginal Australians was tragic. Of course it was. We understand that. And there are many wrongs that were done in the past, which we seek to right today.

"And that's what we should be focusing on. We should be focusing on closing the gap, on health, on education, telling our story honestly, but above all remembering that this is a story of enormous achievement. You know, the people who chose to become citizens today.

"They became citizens because they have been entranced by this story, because they believe in the story, they believe in this remarkable nation, and they're celebrating it today."

 


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