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Menzies and the Red Ensign – “Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” – Don Watson

March 15th, 2012 · No Comments · Australian, Australiana, Communism, Conservative Politics, History

No-one manipulated symbols better than Menzies, including the Australian flag which he made official by an act of parliament without referendum or public debate. In the half century preceding, three flags had flown in Australia’s name in peace and war—the Union Jack, the Defaced Red Ensign and the Defaced Blue Ensign. The Blue Ensign had flown at Gallipoli and on the Somme, the Red Ensign at the liberation of Changi, the Union Jack here and there throughout. Had they been asked to choose between the three officially approved flags of Australia it is likely the people would have chosen, as Menzies did, the Blue Ensign in preference to the red one or the flag of Great Britain. Even if Menzies had offered alternative designs, including some without the Union Jack, Australians probably would have voted for the one that defined them as Australian Britons. But that was 1954.

If you look at the paintings of the Australian Federation events, the Red Ensign is usually the dominant flag. Many Australian troops in WW1 and WW2 served under the Red Ensign.

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