NATIONAL FLAG DAY 2006
The Australian flag, like the nation it represents, was conceived in peace and goodwill. Both came into being through the choice of the people – the flag after a public competition in 1901, the Commonwealth itself after a national referendum.
Perhaps for this reason our flag is more than usually symbolic of strength and unity. It was embraced, not in bitterness and bloodshed, not as a reminder of military conquest or revolutionary upheaval, but willingly and proudly by a young and confident people.
For more than a century the nation and its emblem have endured through peace and war, through hardship and prosperity.
Respect for the flag is a form of self-respect. In honouring the flag we honour ourselves – our free institutions, our history, our achievements, the bravery of our fighting forces, our diverse population enriched by millions of new arrivals who have shared with us their culture and traditions.
On National Flag Day I ask all Australians – in their homes, their schools, their workplaces – to reflect on the flag and all it stands for. It is a day to give thanks for the privilege of living in a free, peaceful and prosperous country, and to honour the flag that has flown beside us throughout our proud journey as a nation.
Morris Iemma MP
Premier, Minister for State Development and Minister for Citizenship