One of the most common suggestions Ausflag receives for a new Australian flag is to replace the Union Jack on the current Australian flag with the Aboriginal flag.
Although this suggestion is no doubt well intentioned, there are a few problems with such an idea.
- Vexillologically it is a poor design. Red should not immediately abut blue on a flag, but should be separated from each other by a "metal" i.e. white or yellow. The principles that should be followed in flag design are summarised in our Flag Designer′s Guide.
- As a design principle it is arguably just as bad as the one it replaces. The upper left corner of the flag or canton is the position of honour in a flag. The current flag symbolises subordination of the Australian nation to Britain because the canton is occupied by the Union Jack. The flag should be designed to indicate unity not subordination.
- The designer of the Aboriginal flag, Harold Thomas, is extremely uneasy about suggestions of replacing the Union Jack with the Aboriginal flag. In an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1994 Harold Thomas describes the Aboriginal flag as his intellectual property, and in response to the suggestions that it replace the Union Jack he says:
"I wouldn′t reject it out of hand, but I could make a decision to say no. It′s not a secondary thing. It stands on its own, not to be placed as an adjunct to any other thing. It shouldn′t be treated that way."
Whilst the incorporation of some indigenous symbolism on any new Australian flag could be a unifying and reconciliatory step, appropriating the Aboriginal flag in this way could have the opposite effect.