Run up a new flag for Sydney Olympics

The current "Buy Australian" campaign should be replaced with a "Sell Australian" campaign. We have a world market of 5 billion and a domestic market of 17 million people. We have goods and services which are world class. The world market is the market we should be focussing on and putting our resources behind. Internationally accepted Australian products will automatically be accepted by Australian consumers rendering the "Buy Australian" campaign irrelevant.

It is fairly clear that as a nation, we have been thinking inside the circle, rather than outside the circle. Our flag reflects this notion. The often held view: "What does it matter if the rest of the world doesn't recognise our flag... we know who we are'' epitomises this very point. Our short European history of 200 years on this island continent. spoon-fed on colonialism and subservience to a foreign land, has spawned a culture of subjectivity rather than objectivity. The key to our future prosperity is to think outside our continent... not inside.

If one accepts the philosophy that the "Sell Australian" concept is the better approach, then from a marketing point of view, could one imagine anything more counter-productive than to place the designs of our competitors (Britain, New Zealand etc.) on our paramount symbol? Yet that is precisely what we are doing with a flag that to the world looks like a British branch office. We advertise and promote British/NZ etc. products every time we fly our flag or place it on our products. More importantly, we do not indelibly stamp our identity firmly in the minds of the world's consumers and the international marketplace.

While Ausflag's aims have not altered since our incorporation in 1981, we now have a very definite timeframe in which to achieve our goal: the 2000 Olympics. It is doubtful whether we will ever have a greater opportunity to show the world we have matured as a nation and to "Sell Australian". The Norwegians have set us a perfect example. For two weeks, from the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, the Norwegian flag was beamed around the world onto billions of television screens. Should we enter the Olympic Stadium in 2000 under a colonial defaced British ensign, we will undoubtedly send the world confusing signals as to our maturity and identity. When Canada held the Olympics in Montreal in 1976, the world did not know whether Canada was a monarchy or a republic. They saw Canada as a proud, sovereign, independent nation competing under their own maple leaf flag. The design had put Canada on the' map. (Today, Canada remains a monarchy.)

We have six years to the 2000 Olympics. There will be no greater opportunity for Australia to show the world that we have grown up than during this event, when the world's eyes will be upon us. Six years is not a long time in which to perfect the new Australian flag design and persuade the majority of Australians to endorse it. Extraordinary benefits will flow to all Australians from having "Our Own Flag" in time for the 2000 Olympics. A paradigm shift is required in order that our culture and thinking are moved from in ward and backward looking to outward and forward looking.