Symbolism Trap

Originally published as a Letter to the Editor in The Australian, Tuesday, July 1, 1997.

Mr Downer said recently that that the handing over to China would see the end of colonialism for Hong Kong.

Commensurate with the handover has been the lowering of the Hong Kong flag (a British blue ensign), a colonial flag symbolically identical to ours.

However much we wish to portray ourselves as a sovereign, independent nation, the rest of the world will continue to see and treat Australia as a colony until we are able to grow up and proclaim a flag of our own.