Senator Jacqui Lambie has responded with a shocking response to an ABC audience questioner who said the Union Jack represents “genocide and terrorism.”
Irishman Richard Ryan asked the Q+A program panel on Monday for their “thoughts on the Union Jack on the Australian flag” as the debate rages over whether Australia should become a republic and leave the British monarchy.
Mr. Ryan then called it “a symbol of terrorism (and) genocide for the original owners of this land?”
Mrs. Lambie, who served in the Australian Army, surprised host Stan Grant and much of the audience with her fiery response, calling not only for a new flag, but for an Australian republic.
“The flag would have a lot more meaning if we put it out there so that it doesn’t just include First Nations people, it doesn’t just include white people, but all the migrants who have come to this country because of God knows how many years,” she said .
Irishman Richard Ryan (pictured centre) asked the Q+A program panel for their ‘thoughts on the Union Jack on the Australian flag’
“The only way to do this and teach people about our history is to throw it at those kids 16 and under, have them design the flag and explain why we need to change the flag.”
The Tasmanian senator said if you let kids design a new Australian flag, “they get an education about the border wars.”
“They’re going to learn how great this country is with migrants and how we’ve all come together, and I think there’s only one way to do that and that’s to create a whole new flag,” she said.
Ms Lambie argued that this would ‘give the youth, who are going to be the leaders of this country, a chance to design their own future by making a flag’.
She was on a roll at the time and raised her voice to add: “The other thing is when it comes to a republic we’re all adults here in Australia and it’s about time we got on our feet and not You don’t need a king and queen for that.
‘We can actually do it all ourselves. Bring on a republic, bring on a new flag,’ she shouted to laughter and applause from the audience.
Jacqui Lambie called for the Australian flag (pictured) to be redesigned by children
What does “terra nullius” mean?
Terra nullius is a Latin phrase meaning “nobody’s land.”
It is used to explain how Australia was founded by British settlers who justified it by declaring the country ‘terra nullius’.
This was interpreted as a complete absence of “civilized” people capable of land ownership.
Source: Australian Museum
The senator, who is part Aboriginal on his mother’s side, did not address the issue of the Union Jack representing “terrorism (and) genocide,” but another panelist, Nova Peris, did.
The former Labor senator, Olympian and prominent Republican said: ‘Yes. When you think of the Union Jack, it was planted here in Botany Bay marking the notion of ‘terra nullius’ (‘no man’s land’)…
‘ (On the Australian flag) We have the Union Jack here and the Southern Cross there. For myself as a First Nations person, when you look at flags, flags are symbolic, they’re about representation,” she said.
Mrs. Peris then explained what the Aboriginal flag means.
‘TThe black symbolizes us as humans, the yellow is a giver of life and the red is Mother Earth.
“If you look at the Australian flag, it has another country’s flag in our flag…I understand the history that it was flown when our soldiers went to war and fought for our freedom that we have.
“But it’s also hurtful to us as First Nations people because it symbolizes the terra nullius.’
Another panelist, Caroline Di Russo, state president of the WA Liberal Party, defended the flag and its significance to her Italian migrant heritage.
“Especially for my family…the Australian flag is one of those things that is synonymous with them in Australia, so I personally love the flag.”
She called for a “mature conversation” about the flag, acknowledging that society’s vision evolves over time.
“Australia has already changed a lot, even in the post-war period,” Ms Russo said.
“So if it’s something that other people want to have that conversation, have the conversation and we’ll find out sooner rather than later what we’re going to end up with.”
There was a mixed response on ABC’s Twitter page to the question and answer questioner calling the Union Jack “a symbol of terrorism (and) genocide.”
“It’s a symbol to be proud of!” one man wrote, while another agreed, saying, “This is, of course, the ABC’s question to their far-left audience.
“We don’t deserve your hatred.”
Senator Lambie (pictured on ABC’s Q+A program) also called for Australia to become a republic
But others sided with the questioner, and one simply said, “Down with it.”
Another had a suggestion for how the Australian flag could be modified. “Just scrap the Union Jack, change the Southern Cross to green and gold,” they said.
One commentator used folksy symbolism to explain their point of view.
‘I love the Australian flag. I always thought it was a great flag for Australia.
“When I see it, it reminds me of the night sky, like I’m lying in my swag looking up at the sky.”