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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Mr WILLIS (Robertson) - I think that the House is very much indebted to the honorable and learned member for Corio for bringing forward this, question. Judging from the correspondence in which he has been engaged, it has occupied a good deal of his attention. I think I remember some previous reference to the matter in this House. I suppose that one of the reasons why the Australian national flag' has not been flown from our buildings is that a very long time elapsed before the Imperial authorities extended their approval to the design which was adopted by the Commonwealth Government. I think that the Australian flag should be flown upon all Commonwealth buildings, and that we may reasonably ask the Prime Minister to see that in future our flag is accorded the chief place upon all great occasions. It is only proper that it should also be flown from the ships maintained by the people of Australia. The fact that it has not been so displayed in the past is probably due to the circumstance that the officers of the Navy feel that there is nothing like the flag under which they have served in the past. They have, however, a duty to perform' to the Commonwealth, and they should discharge their functions under the conditions laid down bv the Commonwealth Government. Even though our naval policy may be changed, I think the Prime Minister should take steps to insure that our flag is always accorded a prominent place, and that the youth of Australia are taught to pay it as much respect as h.u hitherto been accorded to the Union Jack. We have adopted the Union Jack as part of the design of our national flag, and upon the face of it also appears a representation of the Southern Cross, and ' a six-pointed star, which is intended to indicate the number 'of States in the Federation. It seems to me that the officials of Downing-street have been too tardy in their recognition of the national spirit which Australians have shown in adopting a flag which is intended to be emblematical of the Federal Union, and I trust that, the Government will do their best to correct their errors of omission. I have very much pleasure in supporting the motion, and desire to express my personal indebtedness to the honorable and learned member for Corio for having submitted it. The correspondence which he has quoted shows that he has treated the authorities with every courtesy and respect, that he has thoroughly investigated the matter, and that his proposal is entitled to the fullest consideration.

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