This is an extract from Gough Whitlam’s speech at the ALP Annual Dinner in Melbourne.
On the question of national identity, I come to an even more emotive topic, the Flag. Australians need a flag which is recognisable in all other countries and is acceptable to everyone in this country. When the Flags Act was passed in 1953 the only members of the UN and the Commonwealth which included the Union Jack in their flags were the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. At that time the Union Jack was also included in the flags of six UN trust territories, including New Guinea. None of them included it in the national flags which they adopted on independence.
Today the only members of the UN which include the Union Jack in their flags are the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and the only members of the Commonwealth which do so are the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Tuvalu. Canada is the oldest member of the Commonwealth and South Africa has been readmitted to it. The flag of neither country now includes the Union Jack.