Is It Time For A New Australian Flag?

Some say yes and some say no to a new Australian flag. There are countless arguments for and against this discussion, especially when Australia Day comes around each year and Australians reflect on what our country and flag mean to us.

Our current flag was chosen through a national competition in 1901. 32,823 entries were submitted and a panel of judges declared five entrants who presented similar designs as the winners. That was a while ago. As someone who is lucky to live in an Australia in a time where there are world class facilities and a multicultural population, sometimes I wonder: does our current flag truly represent Australia today?

Sometimes a flag unites us, and sometimes a flag divides us.

Sometimes a flag unites us, and sometimes a flag divides us | Weekly Photo Challenge: Circle.

There is a blue ensign and red ensign; under the Flags Act 1953 the former was officially chosen as our national emblem. The symbolic elements making up the Australian flag are the:

  • Union Jack (top left): acknowledges British settlement from 1788-1850
  • Commonwealth / Federation Star (bottom left): its seven points represent the unity of our states and territories
  • Southern Cross (right): a constellation that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, a reminder of Australia’s geography

Some say Australia needs a new flag because the current one does not wholly represent the values and progressive identities of our country in recent times. Australia has evolved as a nation since the end of British colonial era, and those who defended Australia during times of conflict did so not for a flag, but for a country. Today, we are an independent country governed by a democratically elected government and migrants are a significant makeup of the population – so the relevance of the Union Jack today is questionable.

This is exactly the sentiments of my blonde haired Australian colleague, Simone. The other day at work, someone propped a mini Australian flag in my stuffed monkey Mr Wobbles’ hands. Simone saw this scene and exclaimed, “I don’t understand why he has to be so patriotic! I hate it!” According to her, not all cultures of which want to be paraded under the Union Jack.

A flag we raise should be a flag we believe in. Aboriginal flag flying high in the city of Melbourne.

A flag we raise should be a flag we believe in. Aboriginal flag flying high in the city of Melbourne.

The symbolism of the Australian flag is arguably lost on us today. A flag is a marker of who we are, who and what we stand for. Consequently, Australia needs a flag with distinctive symbols that we identify with as a nation. The kangaroo, boomerang, koala, golden wattle, emu and opal are just a few proudly recognised icons by many as uniquely Aussie and featured during numerous national and international political, entertainment and sporting events. In addition, Canada did away with the Union Jack on their flag in 1965 and New Zealand are in the process of holding referendums to decide if it will replace their flag.

A flag that we proudly raise and wave is a flag that we believe in. Perhaps it’s time Australia had a flag which is symbolic of where we are going, recognising its First Peoples, Indigenous Australians and multicultural communities moving forwards as a nation. A recent poll shows more than half of Australians support a republic. A change of flag colours is seemingly apt in order to encourage equality and national unity as we move away from being a constitutional monarchy: the current colours and elements of the flag are reminiscent of a bygone era, disregarding the stolen generation and rightful owners of Australian land.

However, there are reasons to stick with the current flag. The Union Jack signifies a significant moment in Australia’s history; we would not be where we are today if not for the past. Everyday Australians designed the current flag; fair say, fair go, as can be said. But apart from the fact that that was decades ago, national identity is constantly changing.

A flag can bring us closer together, and encourage cultural tolerance.

A flag can bring us closer together, and encourage cultural tolerance.

It is worth wondering about the degree of respect that we have for national flags. While in high school in Singapore, my class attended compulsory assemblies every morning and watched the Singapore flag being raised as the national anthem played. In the month leading up to the city’s national day, locals are encouraged to display the country’s flag outside their homes and businesses. In Singapore, the national flag is treated with utmost pride, not something to be paraded about casually.

In contrast growing up in Australia, I didn’t see the Australian flag much at school except during weekly or monthly assemblies. Come Australia Day, many of us drape the flag over our shoulders as we celebrate the day with BBQs and wear flip-flops, shorts and bikinis decorated with the flag design on them – a more colloquial fashion of expressing reverence towards a flag.

In a sense, Australia’s current flag is associated with racism. Aside from disregarding the First Peoples, our flag is often used as a barrier or shield against another race: for instance, protestors at the Reclaim Australia rallies wore homemade flag masks, clashing with fellow Australians. Also, while the Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait Islander flag are official flags of Australia, they are raised seconded to the national flag. Then there is also the Boxing Kangaroo flag, often waved around at sporting events we participate in. Different flags for different occasions in Australia.

There are other ways to show patriotism, love and respect for a country instead of through a flag. Voting, don’t do crime and volunteering in the community are a few examples. But expressing patriotism through a flag and standing united (waving the flag together, watching it being raised) for our country is something special: that’s when we put our differences aside. As Barack Obama said:

“In the face of impossible odds, people who love (a) country can change it.”

Each of us should know better the flag we are waving.

Each of us should know better the flag we are waving.

A few days after Simone’s outburst, I put Mr Wobbles on her desk with the mini Aussie flag in his hands. Went back to my work. Some hours later I walked by and saw the flag gone, no where to be seen. Simone must have had a fit and ripped it away from the monkey. Mr Wobbles looked crestfallen but I don’t blame my colleague.

Each of us Australians, no matter where we are from, need to know better the flags we wave. Designing a new Australian flag is a whole other discussion. It’s time we get started on that.

Are you proud of your country’s flag?

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205 thoughts on “Is It Time For A New Australian Flag?

    • I don’t think each of us know much about other countries’ flags, unless perhaps we take an interest in geography. The last shot was hard to set up. The wind was blowing – it was blowing out the flags but at the same time, toppling them down 😀

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  1. I think we could rephrase the question so instead of asking whether we should change the flag, we should ask ourselves whether we want a flag that unites? Do we want to be like people in Singapore or America and have a rallying symbol that inspires reverence?

    Maybe yes or maybe no.

    Is there not a better example of multiculturalism than in Australia where some people wave the boxing kangaroo flag, some the Eureka flag, some the Torres Straight Islander flag, some the Aboriginal flag, some the Australian flag and then others go, bugger it, none of these flags represent me so I’ll create my own?

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is such a good point, Chad. It is true that there are a variety of flags Australia seem to associate with. Hard to say if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Multiculturalism often lies within the people and community of any given country, and tends to shine when we put our differences aside and respect each other for who we are and the culture we are from.

      You can’t please everyone, and each of us are entitled to our own opinion. Perhaps trying to come up with a flag that unites us might divide us, who knows.

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      • Multiculturalism is one of those words which is thrown about without a great deal of reflection about what it actually means, and in my experience, it means different things in different countries. A national flag is somewhat at odds with some conceptions of multiculturalism because it asks for a kind of identity that may be a rival to an alternative identity.

        My inference from your posts is that you see yourself as Australian but your hold onto your ancestral heritage and you would like something similar for our flag. In short, this may be a flag that symbolises the fact that diverse ancestral strands have woven together to make up Australia. Potentially, this could symbolise that those Australians of British descent are not more “Aussie” than those not of British descent simply because the British flag is in the corner.

        Maybe my inference was wrong and I am just more hoping that you would like what I like. Personally, I think nations need to have an identity to build an affinity between people so that they support each other and share in each other’s success. Multiculturalism, as defined by segmented identities that share a land but are hostile to each other, undermines that. On the other hand, cultural fusion, where different people learn from each other, can strengthen it.

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        • You are right in saying that I see myself as an Australian who takes pride in my heritage. But I also hope to see an Australia where all races – whether Africa, Anglo, Asian, Middle Eastern, Indigenous Australians etc – can stand side by side on equal footing in this country.

          I suppose there will always be an alternate perspective towards a flag of any country. You bring up a good point there in that at times the notion of multiculturalism is lost on us. Multiculturalism is a complex topic in itself, and it is more than just about food and celebrations of a particular culture.

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  2. I’m happy with the flag as it is. I don’t mind the union flag in the top left corner. I’m not a fan of multiculturalism I’m a fan of one Australia, united as a people who are free to celebrate their heritage in the context of a fair and democratic society. I see myself as an Australian of Chinese genetic lineage. There are more important things like getting out of debt and ensuring our children have a future.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That is very important point to note, Gary, that a flag is not a means to an end for our country and families. It could take a lot of time to decide on a new flag if we choose to go down that route, and it could potentially divide Australia in some ways. I would love a united Australia too, but I think we still have someway to go before that can happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You know, I don’t even remember the meanings behind the Malaysian flag. I think the 14 stripes represent the 13 states and 1 federal territory, but we now have not 1, not 2, but 3 federal territories! Maybe it is also time for the Malaysian flag to get a facelift.

    I have always wondered why even as a Commonwealth country, we never have that Union Jack thing on our flag, just like Australia does and Hong Kong did. Reading this article, I guess I realized, we have never “officially” been a British colony. Of course, for all practical purposes, we were, but officially, we were still Malay monarchs through and through. The British were only here “officially” as advisors and investors.

    Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if it is right for us to celebrate Independence Day in Malaysia. What did we gain independence from if we were never a colony in the first place? We merely came to an agreement to terminate the British’s services in our country. 🙄

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    • Come to think of it, I’m not sure why the Singapore flag doesn’t (or didn’t) have the Union Jack on it. After all, it was a British colony around the WWII era.

      Though I’ve spent considerable time living in Malaysia, I have no idea what the Malaysian flag means. If I remember correctly, the teacher tried teaching my class about the history of the flag in Malay, and of course not all of us were fluent in Malay when we were kids…

      You bring up a good point about Malaysia’s Independence Day. I thought that day acknowledges the separation from Sabah and Sarawak. But I’ll admit: my history of Malaysia isn’t that good.

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  4. I have to admit that although I was born and raised in Australia, I knew very little about the flag and what it truly represents so thank you for all of the informative facts! Mr Wobbles looked so adorable and patriotic with his flag, I hope he wasn’t too sad when it was ripped off him 😦 I don’t really celebrate Australia Day although I do love the day off of work haha. I guess because I have all Italian relatives, I’m not overly patriotic. It is a great country to live in however and we are very lucky.

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    • Sometimes a flag is just a flag. There is more to living harmoniously than agreeing to a national flag that we all identify with. Truth is, all of us come from different backgrounds and so will have a different opinion of what flag is “right” for a given country. Respect towards others is what usually binds us as a nation. Mr Wobbles needs to learn what he is waving! To be honest and in my opinion, he looks rather confused in the last photo.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Many decades ago Canada got a new flag. I think the red Canadian maple leaf is very much representative of the country. When traveling we often can be seen with that maple leaf on a cycling jersey or jacket.
    Poor Mr Wobbles be all heart broken. 😦

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    • The other day I was reading about how Canada got a new flag. It fascinated me how it was all a very civilised process. It seems many Canadians are proud of their current flag.

      I don’t know about Mr Wobbles. He looks rather confused in the last photo, waving two flags in the wind. Or maybe he was stressed trying to stop the flags from blowing away.

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  6. Hi Mabel, This post gives a peep into the history behind the Australian flag. I liked the way you have questioned its relevance in the current times. Interesting to know that there are different flags for different occasions in Australia. In sharp contrast to the Australian practice of wearing flag in flip flop or shorts, in India it would be considered as irreverential to do so. Like in Singapore, in India too the national flag should be treated with utmost pride.

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    • When I moved back to Australia some time ago, I was so surprised to see the flag printed on even underwear here in Australia! I suppose in India (and Singapore) it would be considered disrespectful, and one could get fined for that. In these countries, the national flag is associated as something ceremonious, a very grand thing. It is fascinating to see that many of us will stand at attention when a country’s flag is being raised – I think that is something universal.

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  7. The American Civil War ended in 1865. The North won. The South lost. And yet until recently some Southern states continued to fly the Confederate flag along with the American flag. They said they were honoring their ancestors who fought for their homeland. A more common opinion now is that flying the Confederate flag is an insult to the descendants of the slaves who were freed as a result of the North winning the Civil War. The capital of South Carolina flew a Confederate flag until July of 2015. In my blog next Sunday I mention the Confederate flags that are contained in two stained glass windows in the National Cathedral. They’re planning to replace them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is an interesting piece of American history, and quite contradictory opinions of the Confederate flag. I suppose it depends where each person is coming from, and their take on history.

      A flag can be symbolic in many ways. Sometimes we might see it as a patriotic icon, others we might see it as an icon that reminds us of what has been or a part of history. I am looking forward to your blog post next Sunday. That should be very interesting.

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  8. Hi Mabel,

    It is interesting to know that the opinion regarding Australian flag is divided. All countries take pride in their flag and can’t think of changing it…I have never even imagined it but as you say Australian flag seems to be more of Union Jack and therefore needs some change. The aboriginal flag is equally good.

    I don’t remember when I saw the flag of my country for the first time but the attachment and the pride comes naturally and is quite deep-rooted, probably it has been inculcated so well! 🙂

    Thanks for such an informative and special post. It evoked many memories. Have a wonderful week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think there will always be some disagreements surrounding any flag. After all, each of us will have a different take on what it represents depending on how we feel about our country’s history and current state of affairs. Australia has a history where the First Peoples or Indigenous Australians have been disrespected, and today this is still the case in some facets of our society. Hence there is some hostility surrounding the current Australian flag.

      I am sure you are very proud of the Indian flag, Balroop, and remembered seeing it quite a bit through your life. Always appreciate you stopping by. Take care.

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  9. Excellent and balanced post Mabel, thanks for sharing. Personally, I feel it is time for a New Flag for Australians to unite under. I think that the Southern Cross and the Federation star are still relevant, but I wonder about the importance of the Union Jack for todays Australians. I love the colour blue in our flag and I love the yellow and ochre/red in the Aboriginal flag. I also like the ease with which Canada’s flag is recognised. 🙂 again – great post. (I was born in England)

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  10. The more I travel, the more I feel that we give way too much importance to borders whilst ignoring cultures or people. It’s important to be united, but, it often comes at a price of crushing diversity. In that sense, a flag can mean or achieve many things or not much. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flags are borders, “crushing diversity”. That is such a great train of thought. A flag is something we might not all agree on at the end of the day, depending on our background and values. While I do strongly feel Australia needs a new flag, I do think it is equally important – if not more important – to cultivate cultural respect amongst each other on a daily basis 🙂

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  11. I’m in two camps over this. Is it time for a new flag? Maybe it is. However, one thing needs to be kept in mind. The flag should not be simply changed for just simply changing the flag. Is the current flag seen as being racist? I’m not so sure on that. Sure. Racist groups have often hijacked the flag. That does not mean that the flag is racist in itself. Another thing is that the flag issue and the republic issue are two different issues. One can be changed without the other – again, Canada is an example, as well as New Zealand (soon going to a referendum to decide on the current flag and the results from a recent flag competition).

    If we end up ultimately choosing a new flag, then I will be as proud of it like I am of the current one.

    As for a republic, again, I don’t think it’s right in becoming one just for the sake of becoming one. Our current parliamentary system may have its faults, but so does every other system. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Could there be some electoral reform? Sure. Should we have an optional preference system at the federal level, like we do at the state level? Definitely. Is the British Monarch the official head of state? Yes. But, for all intents and purposes, there’s practically no input from the British Monarch in this day and age.

    Sorry, my reply has become a little long-winded. 🙂

    Btw, would I go as far as removing a flag, on someone’s property, I didn’t agree with? No. That’s just plain rude, inconsiderate, and intolerant – from someone that’s supposedly pushing for tolerance and inclusion.

    It may also be of interest that the Hawaiian flag also has the Union Flag in the upper staff quadrant.

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    • Such an informative, thought-provoking response, Stephen. It is true that the discussion of a new flag and the idea of a republic are two separate issues. Like comparing apples to oranges. A flag is a symbol, a symbol of a nation, while the whole notion of a republic has got to do with the way our country is run.

      Choosing a new flag won’t be something taken lightly if the day does come. Surely Australians want a flag they can be proud of. I would imagine we would do something similar like Canada or New Zealand and put forward a new flag through a vote or referendum, or we could do it through a national competition ala the first flag. And it would not be something that would be done overnight.

      Interesting fact about the Hawaiian flag…

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  12. I think changing a flag can bring some problems (like, all the books and encyclopaedias would need to be changed, the country would spend a lot of many changing all the flags, the factories manufacturing those clothes you mentioned would have to change their patterns…), but if a majority of the Australian people want to change it, then go ahead!

    New Zealand voted on a new flag recently, no?

    In Spain, people only take out the flag for football matches. Many people in our country see the flag as a symbol of the right wing ideologies (I don’t know why), so they don’t like it. We have had the current flag since 1785 (although during the Republic in the 1930s we had a different one for a few years).

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    • Such a good point to bring up. The history books in hardcopy would all be outdated, and schools will need new books if they are not learning everything through the computers at that point in time should Australia change its flag.

      I believe New Zealand are in the process of deciding on whether or not to choose a new flag, and are holding a number of referendums at this stage. So the outcome of that should be interesting. And interesting bit of history about the Spain’s flag and sport.

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  13. Though I am not Australian myself I do think it is time to redesign the flag. Canada dis a great job and New Zealand is also going well now. The Union Jack…well it has pretty much nothing to do withaustralia any longer compared to 1905.
    Anyways I always think it is sad when people don’t know even the basics about their countries flag such as in Germany many have no clue why it is designed that way.

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    • I agree with you, Crazy. Australians don’t seem to identify with the Union Jack on numerous occasions here, be it in our day to day lives or on a day like Australia Day, or during a sporting event.

      Behind a flag is often a history about a country, so like you, I think it is important what a flag of our country represents. Maybe times will in Germany. But with that said, I remember going to school in Singapore and Malaysia and don’t have much clue about what their national flag represents…just a little…

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  14. Please do not get rid of the constellation, that is the greatest part of the Australian and New Zealand flags.
    Maybe an entire flag of the night sky?
    You are at a Aborigine campfire, miles away from city light look up, and put that on your flag.

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    • An entire flag of the night sky sounds interesting. I would like to see such an interpretation of that on a flag. Really, really like your vision.

      I’ve always had a fascination with the sky, whether day or night. No matter where we are in the world, when we look up, we see the same sky…albeit in different textures and colours.

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  15. Mr. Wobbles looks as though he’ll be happy with whatever flag you give him to hold. South Africa got a new flag after apartheid fell. It was supposed to unite the nation, but there are still some people who trundle out the old one on occasion. 😦

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  16. Poor Mr Wobbles. Don’t let the busy bodies or those with bad manners spoiled your day. You are you and they’re they.

    I must confess I know very little of Australian history. It’s food for thought but as Gary Lum pointed out there’re more important things to consider eg getting out of debt.

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    • I hope Mr Wobbles will learn the history behind the flags he is waving. But as you said, he is his own personality and he deserves to be who he wants to be.

      Gary Lum did point out some wise thoughts. There are often more pressing matters to deal with in order to strengthen the social and economic fabric of any nation. Education and racism are also important issues in my opinion that Australia needs to deal with.

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  17. I’ve been reading about New Zealand’s search for a new flag and love some of the entries. And I love it that some countries are willing to reconsider their symbols. In the U.S., I can’t imagine the discussion being possible. The flag is–well consider our phrase for something so unquestionable that it’s almost sacred: It’s like mom, apple pie and the flag. If we changed the flag, we might have to reconsider mom and apple pie.

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    • New Zealand’s hunt for a new flag is certainly very interesting. A very open and lively discussion going on there in that country in regards to a national emblem.

      I always figured the flag was a touchy issue in the States as well – that it’s a flag that is symbolic of racism. Then there are also divided views on the Confederate flag.

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  18. Interesting post Mabel, I find it distressing that someone took Mr. Wobbles flag, as I think he has the right to fly it. It’s similar to the way I feel about the Confederate Flag, if you own one and want to fly it, that’s your right. Having it flown on public property is a different situation, then you have to think more about what it means to everyone as opposed to just you. I do find it very interesting that there is a discussion about changing the flag, I don’t think that would happen in the US, for people who are supposed to be flexible we can be very rigid about some things.

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    • You are right. All of us deserve to wave the flag we wish to wave. But I do think Mr Wobbles looks a tad confused waving too flags in the last photo…

      You bring up an interesting point there about the flag being displayed and waved in a private and public space. I suppose we really are entitled to do whatever we want in the privacy of our own homes (so long as we do not break the law). Perhaps in some people’s point of view, the flag is sacred. After all, many a flag do represent a significant moment in history and our roots.

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  19. We are overdue for a new flag. But I’d like to see the country do a complete do-over and create a republic, a new flag and a new national day in one hit. Then I will feel we’ve grown up. Most days I feel like we’re still living in the Queen’s nursery.

    This is a great post, Mabel. Balanced, informative and thought-provoking. My favourite bit? “…those who defended Australia during times of conflict did so not for a flag, but for a country.” Oh gosh, YES.

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  20. Happy hello to you my fave and most lovely little sis, hope you are having a great first week of 2016. I sure am, I have been changing from 1 PJ set to another and haven’t brushed my hair in days. Living the hippy life. Yay!

    Thought provoking post Miss Mabel, it actually made me a little …. frustrated, I don’t particularly care what is on our flag, but I do associate my country with what we have now. I think sure, change it if we must, but what about (and this is just my opinion, I am not for or against anyone else or their thoughts on the matter) but what about the MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars that would have to go into that change. Surely that money could be spent on feeding the homeless, building accommodation for people in need, funding for those less fortunate, medical research…. the list goes on and on.

    I agree with your friend Chad – Australia has got to be considered one of the most multicultural in the world, for the most part, we seem to be a nation that stands for whatever the bloody hell we want, the example of the boxing kangaroo flag, the Eureka flag, the Torres Straight Islander flag, the Aboriginal flag, the Australian flag or the buggar it, whatever flag is brilliant.

    Anyways, massive rant, thanks for listening. Lol!

    Have a happy weekend. Big hugs and love. xox

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    • Anna I LOVE you! I am the “old “Australia. I am the result of several generations of migrants (mainly Irish, German and English) My kids are fifth generation Aussie…..and now I have grand children and great grand children. I think that we need remember that originally many of us came from convict stock.
      BUT we are FREE and INDEPENDENT……..that is our legacy, whether we are Jugoslav, Greek. Italian or Indo-Chinese.
      The SOUTHERN CROSS is our RALLYING POINT and we must keep that as our focus

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      • “… we need remember that originally many of us came from convict stock.” That is a good point, and one that is often overlooked today when discussing the history of Australia.

        A very insightful proposition for a potential future Australia flag, Maureen 🙂

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    • What a way to welcome in the new year, big sis! I too don’t comb my hair unless I absolutely have too 😉

      You bring up such a good point, about the fact that a lot of financials will go towards a new Australian flag. It certainly isn’t something that will happen overnight, but something that will require a lot of consultation with the public and people in power, and the debates back and forth. A drawn our process it will be should Australia go down that path.

      It is interesting to see Australia identify with so many flags. We welcome so many flags in this country, and I wish one day we can welcome every single person with open arms here.

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  21. Such an interesting post as always Mabel. I tend to agree with your friend Simone. I think Mr Wobbles is so unique and special that he doesn’t need any flag to make him the cute monkey he already is. 😀

    I don’t care much about things like that. We had the old SA flag and it was changed after the ANC took over. A lot of south africans were and are still very angry about it, but I don’t care either way. It doesn’t make me the person I am today and it didn’t change me for better or for worse. To me it’s only a symbol and for now let’s just stick to that. I am not really one for politics and it doesn’t interest me. What does upset me is that they waste money on things like this and it could be used for things of more importance, but that is only how I feel, so no more of that either.

    I do however love your photos. Excellent captures as usual and here’s wishing you and Mr Wobbles just the best for 2016. May it be filled with just more love, happiness and peace than the year before. 😀 ♥

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    • “To me it’s only a symbol and for now let’s just stick to that” That is an interesting way to put it. And you are right – a lot of resources go into political debates that involve the public and same goes for a change of flag.

      Politics is a hard hitting topic, a topic that can rile up feelings easily. No one likes to diss and hurt each other; it’s troublesome to even get heard and so perhaps that is also one reason why quite a few of us are okay with the current flag of our country.

      Thanks for the well wishes, Sonel. Mr Wobbles is smiling your way 🙂

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      • One of the reasons why I don’t like political debates and it sure is and there should never be a reason for anyone to diss and hurt each other.

        Around here they don’t care whether we approve or not. They just do what they want to. Makes you wonder why you pay taxes?

        You’re very welcome and give Mr Wobbles a kiss and hug from me. ♥

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        • That is so true. Each and every one of us pay taxes, yet often at times it is unbelievable the decisions each government comes up with and sees through. Then again, you really cannot please everyone. Perhaps sometimes we should just sit back and try to enjoy the show.

          Now, now. You are are spoiling Mr Wobbles ❤

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          • Exactly. They use our tax money to do things we don’t have a say in. Totally unfair.

            That is a fact as well, but as a nation who have a government that rules, we should have more say in their decisions because it’s our money that pay for most of it.

            I know I do but definitely not their show. I do prefer the shows from the animals and bugs and of course the cute Mr Wobbles and your amazing photography. 😀

            He deserves to be spoiled. More hugs and kisses for him. ♥

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            • It is hard to predict the Australian government’s stance on our flag. In the last five years, we’ve had five different prime ministers – five for five. In a way, it is rather embarrassing for Australian politics and whether we’re in a position to democratically have a discussion about changing our flag is questionable.

              Now Mr Wobbles is expecting more of everything…

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              • Will we ever be able to predict on anything regarding our governments? LOL! I won’t even start going on about ours. Way too sad.

                Tell Mr Wobbles he can have as much hugs and love as he want. Plenty this side. Please remind him that he must share with you as well. 😀 ♥

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                • It really is sad. Seems no matter which country we are from, we’ll find something to pick on with our governments. Then again, nobody and nothing is perfect in this world.

                  Mr Wobbles smiles at you again. He takes all the hugs and love for himself 😀

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  22. Though the point is valid, but i feel no country can go about designing the flag every few decades because many factors play a role here – politics, cultural aspects which are changing often, new values espoused and so on.
    If we take up changing the flag, even the National Anthem needs an update.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Just as ‘Advance Australia Fair’ made its resounding presence in the national scene from 1984 onwards, I, for one, feel that Australia has a strong case for a change of flag, specially when the existing flag is a vestige of the country’s colonial past that hardly gels with its current multi-cultural composition and aspiration for a distinctive identity. Nothing is forever so change must set in if required. Even the UN Security Council needs to be reconstituted to reflect the present geopolitical reality and India is justifiably clamouring for it. Season’s greetings to you, Mabel…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wise words, Raj. “nothing is forever”. Spot on. Australia has certainly progressed from its colonial days, and as a nation we have achieved a lot on our own. For instance, we abolished the White Australia Policy a few decades ago in favour of a multicultural nation. Thanks for chiming in. Always appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Wearing flip-flops or undergarments with the national flag printed on it is considered quite disrespectful in India. I’m not saying it’s bad if people of other country do this, but honestly, the national flag should be handled with care 😀
    If the Australian national sentiment speaks for changing the flag, then it should be pondered over by the authority.
    By the way, I honour the national flag of any country as it signifies the nation as a whole… 🙂
    Loved the last picture, Mabel..it’s so sweet… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen any other country apart from Australia where clothes with the national flag printed on them. Could be Australians’ laid back attitude that attributes to this.

      It will be a long process if Australia were to go down the path of changing its flag. Will be interesting to see how New Zealand goes with their flag and holding referendums to change it.

      Mr Wobbles smiles your way 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’d be interested to see what designs Australians come up with for a new flag! I hope you keep us posted on the flag’s status.

    I often feel the American flag is a sacred cow. Touch it with anything other than reverence, and you are unpatriotic! Possibly downright treasonous. (Never mind that the courts have ruled that even burning the flag is a protected right of free speech.) And if you are an American politician, by God, you had better have an American flag pin in your lapel, too, lest your patriotism be questioned!

    To me, the flag is just a piece of cloth, with the potential to represent something far greater. But it usually falls short. Sadly, around the world, our flag represents other, uglier realities. Drone strikes. Interference in the affairs of other nations. Unfortunately, the majority of the U.S. flag-wavers do not see this. They merely see the stars and stripes as a symbol of American exceptionalism and wave it while belligerently espousing, “My country, right or wrong!”

    I think there are times when a national flag can symbolize unity, certainly. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, I put out the flag. But I wanted to modify it, to write on one side: “Flying this flag to show my support for my countrymen, NOT because I condone the actions of the current presidential administration.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • “burning the flag is a protected right of free speech.” I did not know that at all. I don’t know about others, but I’ve always had the impression Americans are patriotic about their flag, much more so than Australians who seem to think it is okay to use our flag in our day to day lives (I’m still divided on whether this is disrespecting the flag).

      Like

      • Yeah, some Americans see their flag as sacrosanct. And they are VERY loud about it. Your impression is correct. 🙂 But anytime I see people demanding more respect for manmade symbols than I see them demanding for humans, animals, or the environment, I find it frustrating and depressing.

        Like

        • From the sounds of it, it seems Americans are more certain about what their flag means – or “means” than Australians and their flag. So true. There are more pressing things than waving a flag at times and we need to be aware of that.

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  26. Liebe Mabel danke für deinen lieben Kommentar es hat bei uns gefroren 5 Grad minus aber von Schnee ist nichts in Sicht wünsche dir ein wunderschönes Wochenende mit ganz vielen lieben Grüßen Klaus in Frendschaft

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I so like that part where you narrated how you express reverence towards a flag the colloquial way. And, the inclusion of your, I say, sidekick (Mr. Wobbles). Feels light, which softens the gravity of the subject.

    Never felt so ashamed when you suggested alternatives for showing patriotism instead of a flag. I’m now in my early 30s but never voted. That’s also the reason why I don’t talk much about politics. I’m pessimistic when it comes to that topic. As long as I see people throwing garbage mindlessly inside public transport or line cutters in train stations, I don’t think Philippines gets the kind of change it deserves.

    In any case, I have utmost respect to our flag. I still feel chills up and down my spine each time I see it waving at me.

    Not proud, on other hand, of the fact that I’m not in the same page as you about things that are of national significance. It’s like a slap in the face…No one has really ever brought the idea of changing the looks of it since the proclamation of Philippine Independence in 1898.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No need to feel ashamed, Sony. We all have our own ways of showing respect and patriotism to our country. Sometimes it might be through an action, sometimes it might be with feeling through the heart.

      Politics is a touchy subject. I know some people who are ashamed to talk about their country’s politics because of how unstable or one-sided the situation always is in their country. Certainly not an easy topic to talk about and you always run the risk of rubbing someone the wrong way whenever you do so.

      Somehow I feel that you’re very, very proud of your home country.

      Like

  28. Even though I live in Taiwan, I am still very proud to be Canadian and proud to wave the maple leaf flag. I actually have a red roots backpack [made for the 2004 Olympics with the word ‘Canada’ and the maple leaf all over it] I use for day trips and whenever I travel.

    It is funny though. I am often mistaken as Irish by some foreigners in Taiwan [I do have 100% Irish roots], but when I open my mouth, people think I am American, but I quickly point out that I am Canadian. I know – this has nothing to do with the flag, but I am sure you know by now that I am sometimes totally random.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That backpack sounds so cute, and it sounds like it serves you well wherever you go 🙂 Sounds like the maple leaf symbol carries a lot of significance among Canadians, and I believe maple leaf trees are of abundance in Canada.

      That really is random, but it does happen. It would be hard to confuse the American and Canadian flag, though. The two are very distinct. Hope you are well, Constance. Best wishes.

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  29. I never knew there was a discussion going on about changing the Australian flag, this was very informative. Changing a country’s flag that has been there since hundred of years sounds really overwhelming but if the nation feels that it’s time it should represent something more, then sure, by all means. As long as it promotes unity and peace. I admire the way you tackle even such sensitive topics with grace and command. You are truly gifted Mabel.

    I like my country’s flag, it’s very simple but I like it. Wouldn’t want it any other way 🙂
    (The picture of Mr. Wobbels with the flags is so adorable, loved it ! 😀 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • It will be a while before Australia changes its flag, in my opinion. Lots of talk about he subject over the last decade, but no real concrete action in place. Hopefully when the time comes, as you mentioned, that it will unite Australia as opposed to divide…but you never really know. After all, politics is a sensitive subject.

      I googled your country’s flag. It is very simple, and I’m sure it is significant to you and your country in many ways 🙂

      Like

  30. Yes, I am proud of the Canadian flag. I wrote about it and for its youthful inspiring design: https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/flying-50-years-for-canada-celebrating-the-national-flag/

    Before our flag did include the Union Jack. Of course, our Canadian legal system has British roots and we were a British Colony nearly 150 yrs. ago.

    I like the design for its boldness, simplicity and celebration of a natural tree in Canada, Maple….and its something that includes the aboriginal peoples who have lived on the land for eons. Canada is 1 of the rare country producers of maple syrup.

    At heart, I guess I wear my love for Canada on my sleeve. My blog is infused with Canadian scenes, experiences and natural fauna. I love being Canadian…despite our internal problems at times, I like telling other foreigners that I am Canadian.

    I wasn’t aware that is what the Australian aboriginal flag looks like. What design elements would you want Mabel?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That was a refreshing blog post from you about the Canada flag, and the inclusive symbolism behind it. It really is a clever design, incorporating what is unique to your country, both past and present.

      The Aboriginal flags are shown in the second and third photos in the post and yes, that is how it looks like. I would be happy with any Australian flag that pays homage to our First Peoples, ideally through a symbol that is strongly connected with their history.

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  31. A very interesting and thoughtfully presented post, Mabel. I think it is so great that you and your readers are able to have a civilized discussion about a very emotive topic. There are many on social media that get carried away with the passionate topics and descend into trying to one up the last commenter. Thankfully that is not the case here.

    The flag does have all these “Rules” that surround it, but I think that has more relevance to an older generation and the armed forces than everyday Australians. It is encouraging to read that many readers here are open to change. I love that New Zealand may change their flag and I hope that will start the debate rolling here. Of course, it would be expensive as one comment above mentions, but it is not something that is changed again and again. And Australia is a much different demographic than it was when the current flag was instituted. This may not be reason enough for change, but possibly modification.

    The Union Jack is not something I like, but it is part of our history but perhaps it might be smaller, say the size of the Federal star? That way other elements could be incorporated. It certainly will be difficult to please everyone! I hope that democracy will prevail and if the majority of the people want it, then it will happen ( as the national anthem was changed some time back to a more relevant australian song!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Politics is always and will always be a sensitive point of discussion. We’re all entitled to our own views after all. There is such a supportive and open community here, and it really is thanks to everyone who has chimed in for making this discussion on changing the flag a very insightful one.

      I agree with you on the Australian flag being relevant to an older generation. The fact that our flag does not acknowledge the First Peoples is not something that sits well with me, and am pretty certain that’s the case with many Australians who grew up over the last few decades and have had an education. It would be interesting to see if New Zealand do get a new flag – it seems to be a well-thought out process for them so far.

      True. Our national anthem was changed a while ago, but I do think there are some among us who still don’t think of it as the official anthem in our hearts. And up until this day, there are still some suggesting that the anthem does not fit Australia as it is today.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. It’s clear to me, a non-Australian, that it’s time to change the flag. The current one is beautiful to look at but that’s not enough. It must have a significant meaning to represent the people it flies over today. Further, if it is a cause or reflection of real social injustice on a faction within the nation, then it must be replaced (hence the flag of the US state of Georgia).

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a great example you shared there. I looked it up, and didn’t know it went through a number of changes. Our current Australian flag certainly is not inclusive of all Australians, but mainly reminiscent of a time that was. But with a change of flag would most certainly come with the discussion of becoming a republic – and about time.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. I put my Indonesian flag together with my former office flag on my study desk. It’s more to show my identity instead of being proud of the flags. I meant, if Indonesia or the office will change their flag’s design then I would not mind. It’s not the flag that matters but the spirit and the idealism of the nation or the organization. I don’t think it is harm to change the flag to accommodate the new spirits and idealism of Australia…

    Liked by 1 person

    • “show my identity instead of being proud of the flags”. That is such a great way to put it. I never thought about that, but now that you mention it, that statement can be very true. Agree with you that it’s okay to change a flag to reflect our current ideas an beliefs. Out with the old, in with the new for brighter times ahead.

      Like

    • All the other flags suck? Now, now, Cardinal. That is a bit of a naughty comment 😀 But, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and nothing wrong with speaking your thoughts out.

      Like

  34. National identity, national symbols…are something that so close to our heart, as there is a history and there is our passion that is embedded in such symbols of national identity. Definitely it changes with the generation, the generation close the inception are more emotionally attached, it may not always be the case but one can make a generalized statement. Flag truly represent one such powerful identity, and it is never easy to ask a question and get the right answer. There will always to two school of thoughts to such historical changes, one school always proponents changes with changing time and there is the other who wants to hold on to the old tradition and the richness of the past heritage in whatever form and place it is present.

    Each country has its own prism to look at the way the flag captures the current imagination of the people or has it really lost its relevance and needs a revamp…in such cases it will not always the rational thought which will hold its ground but it the deep emotions and the strong sentiments that will decide and determine the course of the decision. As the probability is high towards the negative side, many countries have never attempted to venture into such change of design or color, after all it represents the symbolic design and the color combination. This is a thought never had come to my mind.

    Always a good idea to trigger a thought towards change for good, it may not happen in totality but any change in thought in any degree can turn our angle of looking at things…thanks so much Mabel for initiating a good debate…
    😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • “there is our passion that is embedded in such symbols of national identity.” That is such a good way to put it, Nihar. A flag is more than just a symbol. It is a symbol that can be a part of our identity for as long as we can remember. It is certainly not easy to let go of something that we have always looked up to or are essentially mean a great deal to us.

      A new flag often means a new perspective. It is true that there are always opinionated sentiments towards our flag, and sometimes these sentiments might divide a nation more as opposed to uniting the people. Hence why flags aren’t usually changed all the time. If so, there must be a legitimate reason for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Mabel, flag is more than just a symbol, it is our identity and it is what we think and how we look at our country…flag is one such element of many aspects which builds up the overall identity and standing of our country…never easy to change our symbols as so much of emotions and so much of feelings are attached…indeed letting go is the challenge…
        Yes, I agree these national symbols are never easy to change…
        😀

        Liked by 1 person

  35. Very informative post Mabel. Thank you first for explaining the Commonweatjh/Federation Star on the flag. The Captain asked me the other day what that represented and I could not answer his question. Second, I love your National and the Aboriginal Flags (had not seen the Torres Straights Island flag but will keep an eye out for it.) but I agree that the national flag may an update to reflect Australia today. I love the Anerican Flag and wouldn’t want to change it….although I would like my countrymen and women to remember that they are all immigrants to that land and to remain open to all immigrants seeking a better future just as their forefathers did.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Once again you’ve found and researched a controversial topic and touched us all — thanks for making us think about it. I have to admit, I now live in one of those southern US states that was shamefully slow to rid itself of the Confederate flag — even now if we happen to drive in the country we see it sometimes on houses or license plates. As a child I think I would have seen it as a symbol of rebellion and thought Oh, cool, but now with an understanding of history, it seems chilling and disrespectful.

    I do love seeing flags when I travel, though, both because they’re colorful and catch the light (and interesting to photograph) and because they show me something about the state or country. Thanks for another good post – I almost missed it, somehow didn’t see the notification. I’m glad you’re still blogging … Sandy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Talking about flags is indeed a controversial topic. Now I’ll admit it. I don’t know much about the flags in America. Never knew the Confederate flag could be seen as a symbol of rebellion back in the day. It is interesting to hear that it is still seen these days away from the metropolitan areas. From the other comments on this page, I thought it would be too controversial for it to be displayed in public.

      I do think some countries are very passionate about their flag, and it can be a talking point of discussion. However, generally I don’t talk with flags with others, just to play it safe.

      Thanks, Sandy. I will keep blogging…but I think I will take more breaks in between! 🙂

      Like

  37. Very interesting post Mabel! Spain is a very incredibly anti-patriotic country (Australia is incredibly patriotic in comparison), where there is a huge social, cultural and identity problem with roots from Franco times and the civil war. Anyone with a flag or with any notions of patriotism is dubbed as fascist. The word is used way too freely here, when I think people have even forgotten what it actually means. I think the only patriotic moments are when Spain plays football in international matches, and they are not patriotic about the country, only about the team :(… Having lived in so many other countries and seeing their sense of patriotism, I think it’s sad that Spain has this problem of being so antipatriotic.
    Anyway, how would you design the Australian flag. I think it would have to have green and gold colours, which apart from already being the national colours for the brilliant sports teams, it also represents the vast and amazing nature that Australia holds.
    Poor Mr Wobbles 😉
    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had no idea that Spain has rather anti-patriotic sentiments :/ “they are not patriotic about the country, only about the team” That has never crossed my mind. I think a lot of us make that assumption when we see fans waving their countries flag. Now that you mention this, I suppose waving a flag does not necessarily mean we are loyal and proud of our country…

      I would love the Australian flag to pay respect to the First Australians. Maybe a symbol representing this demographic. Do away with the Union Jack. Green and gold colours would be nice.

      Mr Wobbles looks confused holding two flags!

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  38. I thought about that once, I was wondering why the Australians keep the Union Jack. In a way, I think the relevance of the Union Jack today is indeed questionable. It’s part of the past, but maybe you don’t really want to highlight that too much today.

    Where I live in Leeds, I don’t see the British flag that often but I’m sure it’s another story in London. When I was in Belgium, the Belgian flag was everywhere. In a way I think Belgian people were more patriotic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I still find it hard to talk about the Union Jack on our flag when someone asks me about it. It really is confusing. While it represents a moment of the past in Australia’s history, it is hard to find a place for it in Australian society today.

      Interesting to hear about flags in London and Belgium. I suppose each of us have different takes on a flag and its relevance to each country. If we have lived in different parts of the world, then we might find it hard to identify with one particular flag, or maybe even a flag at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Hi Mabel! Firstly, I’m glad to be back and reading your blog again 🙂 You give a very important discussion here of the Australian flag and I think that perhaps the public should hold a vote to decide whether the majority want a new version that is more representative of them. I am in Canada, where we did away with the Union Jack part of the flag, so I understand the importance of nationalism and creating a more modern identity. I didn’t realize Australia has different flags for different occasions – how interesting! Thanks for the well-written post here xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you. Should we decide to change our flag, it should be put to a public vote, or at the very least get the public involved in the decision-making process. It is fascinating to see Canada changing their flag a few decades ago, and the country seems to agree with the decision in general.

      Australia does indeed identify with multiple flags… Nothing wrong with that but I suppose a flag for an interest, to loosely put it.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Hi m! Have I told u lately that I really appreciate the originality of your posts / and super glad to connect with u in blog world !
    Had no idea Australia had so many flags and after this comment I am going to check out the boxing kangaroo!
    And Interesting to learn about the flag and liked the way you showed us how casual the flag is during celebrations (compared to Singapore) it is like that here in the states too – flag bikinis and flags draped over the hatchback –
    But one of my favorite times to see a flag is at the funeral of a vet – I love how they display and fold the flag and just so beautiful – 💛❤️

    Like

    • It is indeed true Australia identifies with quite a number of flags, some more casually than others. In a sense this is beautiful: a different flag for a different occasion, a diversity of flags pointing to a certain aspect of Australia and Australian way of life. Australia Day is in a couple of weeks, and so is the tennis, the Australian Open. So I expect to see quite a bit of the Boxing Kangaroo flag in the near future.

      I’m assuming when you say “vet” you mean “veteran” (not a word used often here in Australia).

      You are very kind, Y. Very glad to have connected with you. I love your vivid captions that go along with your photos, and how you capture the most candid moments with that camera of yours. Good, wandering smart eye 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Liebe Mabel einen schönen Sonntag, hier hat es geschneit in Köln heute Nacht hier beginnt jetzt die 5 Jahreszeit in vollen zügen Karneval in Köln so schön und lustig wünsche dir ein frohes glücklichen Sonntag mit ganz lieben Grüßen Klaus in Freundschaft

    Like

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