Howard Sattler, Radio 2SM Sydney, 10.12am 9th October 2000
Listen to this interview (Quicktime movie, 7 min 23 sec, 2.4 MB)
Balladeer John Williamson and "We Must Have a Flag of our Own", which is a pretty good way to introduce our next interview or interviews, because we′ve got two people on opposite sides of this issue. I just should reiterate that the Prime Minister has said post Olympics that the huge enthusiasm for the Australian flag has severely set back, if not killed off the moves to change the flag and dump the Union Jack from the corner of it.
He said no one was the least bit ashamed to wear it, they could tell it was ours and nobody else′s. The irony of this whole thing is that those who wanted to change the flag have argued it was embarrassing to have a flag at the Games that contained the Union Jack. Yet the Olympic Games have given our flag the greatest international display it′s ever had and therefore made it more recognisable than ever before, and in the process removed the arguments to change that.
Well, Howard Scruby has been campaigning for some years now for a flag of our own. Cop that Harold.
From the Prime Minister, cop that.
Yeah, but that′s expected. I mean, the fact is that practically everyone, for every person who bought an Australian flag someone bought a boxing kangaroo flag because they′re quite unhappy with our flag.
You′re not suggesting the boxing kangaroo be our national flag are you?
Of course not, but I′m saying that in any other country meaning to fly any form of, you know, other flag. You saw at the very end what the Canadians did - they stood in the middle under the biggest maple leaf you′ve ever seen but they didn′t have a boxing beaver.
We′ve got to have a flag of our own. What the Prime Minister fails to recognise is our flag is a colonial flag. And I′ve argued in my article last week that it′s possible that the collapse of our dollar could even be related to the fact that we′re flying a flag that still says we′re a colony or a subordinate branch office of Britain.
All right, well, stay there. Disagreeing with you, I′m sure, is a well known Monarchist. She was the successful campaigner with the Prime Minister. I think they could probably stand up together and say that they stopped the Republic last year - Kerry Jones. Hello Kerry.
Oh, you′re saying hello to Harold first. She′s saying hello to you Harold.
Hi. How are you?
Look, I... Howard, I feel very strongly about this issue as do most Australians who adore...
That′s why I′ve got you on, yes.
... our wonderful flag. It′s the best flag in the world. There′s no doubt about that, Howard. And...
How would you compare it with the New Zealand flag then?
Well, let′s just look at what our flag has on it. It′s got, of course, our heritage, our history in the Union Jack. You can′t deny your history. Then, of course, we′ve got the Southern Cross which is the geography that′s been here in eternity for all Australians, and then we′ve got the seven pointer star which is our constitution which is our federation of our states. There′s no other flag in the world that has geography, history and constitution all in the same flag. It′s a beautiful flag and we′re going to fight to keep it.
Well, as I said the New Zealand one there, on that basis, has got it too.
Well, the New Zealand doesn′t have our seven pointer... our constitutional star, the federation star, and that′s one of the features of our flag and...
But do you think they′d raised it... if they had raised the New Zealand flag - sadly they didn′t win any gold medals - do you think that foreign people watching it on television would have known the difference?
Well, I think everyone knows the Australian flag now, Howard. There′s no doubt about that. It was flown right across the world and I′m very, very proud of it and I think you′ll find most Australians - well over eighty per cent of Australians - are very, very proud of our own national flag.
So, have countries like Canada and the United States got it wrong?
Well, I don′t think we need to worry about other countries. I′m Australian and I′m very, very proud of our Australian flag.
No, but they′re countries that have taken the Union Jack off original flags which have flown in their countries. Have they got it wrong?
If you want to get down to that specific argument, Hawaii have kept it. So, look, let′s... I think we′re talking here about Australia, our Australian flag was flying high throughout the Olympics. I′ve still got my huge Australian flag outside the front of my house and I′m very, very proud of it.
It doesn′t surprise me, Kerry. It does not surprise me. Well, but for every one Australian flag, the official one, I′d put it you - and Harold would too - there were probably two boxing kangaroo flags.
I′d deny that. I was out at the Games quite a lot and I′d say that eighty per cent of the flags being waved and flown were the Australian flag and, of course, it′s the flag - the official flag - that came up behind our Olympians. So, it′s our flag, it belongs to us and...
Well, you know why it came up behind the Olympians, because it was the only one allowed to.
Look, every event I was at eighty per cent of the flags being waved were the Australian flag, I can assure you.
Just for you I′m sure, Kerry. So, is this the end of the debate?
Of course... well, so long as we′ve got people like Harold still trying to push to change something that everyone loves, you know, we′re still going to be debating it. But I think he′s out of touch with most Australians, with rank and file Australians who just love that flag and we′re going to fight to keep it.
There you go, Harold.
Can I just say one thing? Kerry, in an article a month ago you wrote that the Australian flag had the Union Jack on it and the Milky Way. Now, I would have hoped...
No, I actually said the Southern Cross and the...
You wrote the Milky Way.
... the journalist translated that into the Milky Way which was ...
Oh, we′ll check that but can I ask you something? What is the difference between the Australian and New Zealand flag? I′ve got you on the spot. Now, what is the actual difference?
The federational star ...
Yeah, and what else?
... the seven pointer star, which is our Commonwealth, our constitution, our great Commonwealth which we′ll all celebrate January one, 2001 when it′s a hundred years old. That star is a very important ...
Yeah, and what else. What′s the difference? Come on, besides the baloney what′s the difference between the two flags?
Well, the sev...
Can you just describe the other differences please? There are three...
That′s a fundamental difference, an absolutely fundamental difference to have the Commonwealth on there.
So, how many...
Excuse me Kerry, how many stars on the Australian flag?
Well, we′ve got the stars of the Southern Cross which we′ve just discussed.
No, how many stars in total Kerry?
And then we′ve got the seven pointer star. You can tell us, you know, the details of that.
No, no, come on Kerry, how many stars on the Australian flag?
Well, how many do you think there are?
I know. I′m asking you.
You′ll win a prize if you get it right, Kerry.
Well, we′ve got the stars of the Southern Cross and we′ve got...
Yeah, we know that, Kerry. How many stars in total?
We′ve got the seven pointer star, which is something...
Yes, how many stars in total?
... that I am arguing very, very strongly that we should have.
I think we′ve got a winner here, Howard.
Oh dear. All right. Now, Kerry ...
What a beauty. She hasn′t learned anything about the Australian flag.
I certainly stand up for what I believe in. Well, Harold, I think you have got that wrong there. You are the person who′s saying we should change it because it′s a colonial flag.
No, I′m asking you how many stars on it. You only care about the Union Jack.
The flag was not flown...
How many stars on the Australian flag?
Look, the stars and Southern Cross, how many flags are... how many stars are there in the Southern Cross?
Well, that′s what you′re telling me, because I know.
I′m not an expert on how many stars there are in Southern Cross.
Oh right. There you are, Howard. You′ve got it on your own station today. Kerry Jones does not know how many stars on the Australian flag.
I think there′s probably four, isn′t it? Four on... isn′t it four stars in the Southern Cross, and then the seven pointer federation star?
Well, that just shows you. There aren′t.
Why won′t you tell us? I′m sure everyone would love to hear.
You have no idea, Kerry Jones. Because you′re a closet Pom. You′re not an Australian.
Oh come on.
You do not know how many stars on the Australian flag. There are five...
Well, you want to tear up our history.
... in the Southern Cross, and there is one federation star.
All right. Well...
Harold, you′re not going to win any brownie points...
Unlike New Zealand, where there are four.
We′ll leave you there, only because listeners have been fired up sufficiently to want to have a talk about this. So thanks for joining us.
Thank you, Howard.
It′s a pleasure, and stop trying to tear up our history and our heritage and constitution, Howard.