In a survey organised by the University of Western Sydney, more than 8,000 people were asked to vote on a new design for the Australian flag.
Voters were asked to select one out of the six designs, with 31 per cent of people voting for Southern Horizon, pictured below.
— ABC News (@abcnews) January 25, 2016
The second most popular flag was the reconciliation flag which attracted 28 per cent of the votes.
The poll didn’t measure how many Australians want the flag to remain the same or to adopt a new design, but the fact that more people took part in the survey than was expected is a reflection that Australians at least want to have a discussion about it.
“We were overwhelmed with how popular the survey was,” says Benjamin Jones, historian from Western Sydney University.
“We were expecting between one and two thousand [respondents] and we ended up with over 8,000, which I think does indicate there’s at least enthusiasm for a conversation about the flag, if not a groundswell of support for actually changing it.”
Australians have been sharing their opinions of the flag on social media, some embracing the idea while others are not so sure.
“I like the idea of changing our flag, but this design, for me, misses the mark,” says Peter Lloyd.
“How can we have a truly Australian Flag without incorporating the colours of the aboriginal flag — black yellow & red?” says Graeme Egan.
“Absolutely nothing wrong with our current flag. I will NEVER EVER recognise any other flag. No need to change to a cartoon picture!” adds Brian Cox.
While Don Lopez suggests a slight change to the flag to incorporate the traditional colours of our first people.
“If it doesn’t include the aboriginal flag forget it! 40,000 years cannot be wiped,” says Cook Tragic
There have been ongoing talks every now and again about replacing the Union Jack with another design, and our friends across the ditch in New Zealand have also been in talks about changing their own flag design.
They’ve held the first of two referendums, the first of which was held last year to choose a preferred flag design, the second which will be held this year to decide whether they actually want to adopt it.
The design that was elected was a silver fern on a black and blue background, instead of the traditional Union Jack.
According to tradition the Maori hunters and warriors used the silver of the leaves to find their way home.
The flag becomes a link between indigenous and modern New Zealand, something that is hoped a new Australian flag can also achieve.
“Symbols and images, they provoke thought, they can enable people to create a pathway to change their lives,” he said. “We have the opportunity to be better than we are at the moment.”