Australia Day: Thousands of Australians support national flag change

Sixty-four per cent of people in a recent poll supported a change of flag design

Thousands of Australians have backed a change of design to their national flag, a survey released on Australia Day has found.

More than 8,000 people responded to the poll from Western Sydney University, which offered six alternative flag designs, all without a Union Jack.

Sixty-four per cent of people supported a change of flag design and the Southern Horizon was revealed as the most popular.

Thirty-one per cent of participants voted in favour of the Southern Horizon, which depicts the Southern Cross and Commonwealth star on top of a blue background above green and gold waves.

The Reconciliation flag came second with 28 per cent of the vote and features the colours red, yellow and black – a nod to Australia's indigenous population. The Eureka flag came third with 15% of the vote.

The Alternative Australian Flag survey, which ran from December 16 to January 25 and was conducted by Dr Benjamin T Jones, a research fellow at Western Sydney University, aimed to study Australian’s attitudes to their flag.

Dr Jones said the majority of people wanting to change the flag supported a “simple design”, with similarities to the current flag or something that reflected Australia’s indigenous heritage.

Dr Jones said an official poll by the government was needed: “Australia has never had a truly democratic process to choose a national flag. The 1901 competition for a flag of government — not national flag — required a British element and British approval.

“A national conversation on the Australian flag and a democratic vote is long overdue.”

Dr Jones told the Sydney Morning Herald the winning design features “minimal changes beyond the removal if the Union Jack”.

“Those who support a new Australian flag design fall primarily into two categories; those who want a neutral design with some link to the current flag and those who want a completely new design with specific recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

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Thirty-one per cent of participants voted in favour of the Southern Horizon, which depicts the Southern Cross and Commonwealth star 

The outcome of the survey reflects the recent flag referendum in New Zealand, where the winning alternative design - the Silver Fern - kept the blue background and red stars of the current national flag.

New Zealand is still debating whether to change its flag. A final referendum is due to be held in March, in which the current design will be pitted against the Silver Fern.

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