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Thursday, 26 May 1904

Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) - I am inclined to agree with the . Prime Minister that the present flag is not a very striking one. When viewed from a distance, one cannot distinguish the distinctive emblems1 upon it, and the large star does not look like a star, but looks like a sphere. I think that we ought not to deal with this matter with unnecessary haste. I am unable to say at present what Statutes or Royal Warrants relate to the flying of flags in the Commonwealth", or whether we have any law on the subject. There may be an Imperial Statute governing the floating of flags over ports and other military and naval establishments.

Mr Watson - There is a measure relating to the flying of flags on British vessels.

Sir JOHN FORREST - We all desire that the Australian flag, once selected, shall fly over all Commonwealth buildings; but we should deal cautiously with this proposal.

Mr Fowler - Is there any danger of the Imperial authorities sending the Prime Minister to gaol in this connexion ?

Sir JOHN FORREST - No; but I am sure that the honorable gentleman desires that all our proceedings shall be transacted with due regard for order. I would suggest that the motion be not pressed. If its consideration were postponed for two or three weeks, the Prime Minister would have an opportunity to make enquiries that would be of assistance to us on the resumption of the debate.

Mr Crouch - I wrote on various occasions to the Ministry with which the right honorable member was associated in regard to the question.

Mr Crouch - We have the authority of our own right.

Sir JOHN FORREST - The matter is, no doubt, governed by some Statute or Royal Warrant. The Governors of the various States receive instructions as to the flags that aTe to be flown over public buildings on certain days. On the birthday of the Sovereign, for instance, the Royal Standard is flown,, while in connexion with certain other celebrations, the Union Jack, sometimes bearing the badges of the States, is hoisted. We should not deal with the matter until a full inquiry has been made, and I would therefore move -

That the debate be now adjourned.

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