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Wednesday, 25 February 1987
Page: 695

Mrs SULLIVAN —My question, which is directed to the Prime Minister, refers to the stated objective of Ausflag, as reported by the Press in recent days, to have the present Australian flag replaced by a new flag by 1988. What approaches has Ausflag made to the Government for this objective to be achieved? What action, if any, has the Government decided to take in response to Ausflag's proposals?

Mr HAWKE —I must admit that amongst the vast array of things that come to my attention I have not had brought to my attention any such approach. I will take steps to see whether any approach has been made to some Minister who would have a more direct responsibility for the matter which the honourable member raised. It not having been considered by the Government-certainly there is no Cabinet process whereby a Minister has brought any such approach-it follows that there is no government reaction. For what it is worth, let me repeat my personal position which I have put on a number of occasions. I do not see that this will be a bicentennial issue. It is like republicanism. It will be an issue which is properly a matter for discussion in a society such as ours. If or when-

Mr Coleman —Confined to crackpots.

Mr HAWKE —Oh, be quiet, will you, and make way for Hewson. It is a matter for proper debate in a society such as ours. I feel no emotion about it at all. It is a thing that may evolve in time, but I do not see it happening in anything like the time scale to which the honourable member has referred. I will check to see whether there has been any such approach.