‘Chuck another flag on the barbie?’


Castlemaine ‘artist’, Jim Coad has a novel plan to celebrate this year’s Australia Day. He has organised an event, ‘patriotically’ named: ‘Chuck another flag on the barbie?’ which he proposes to hold in a local park.

Speaking to the ABC, Coad stated “There’s a lot of myths around what it means to be Australian, and a lot of myths around the Australian flag.” Coad hopes that the event would provide an opportunity for “discussion” about the meaning of Australia Day.

Of course, if Mr Coad wanted to have a discussion on the meaning of Australia Day, his event would probably be called “A discussion about the meaning of Australia Day.”

Obviously discussion is not really what Coad is interested in, but rather attacking the meaning of Australia Day and our nation’s culture.

Coad won’t confirm whether his event will involved the actual burning of a flag. But for many people, the idea or threat to do so is offensive enough. Flag burning, wherever and whenever it occurs is a deeply hostile act. That is why flag burning is illegal in many places, although it is not outlawed Australia.

It is deeply baffling why someone would entertain burning their own nation’s flag. Despite grievances that citizens may have about their own nation, for most people, burning the flag is like burning a photograph of one’s own family: it would churn one’s gut in a way that only betrayal and treachery can do. Of course, such an action expresses deep hostility to the history, people, and the values that the flag has come to symbolise. But perhaps most alarming is that such an idea reveals a deep and even suicidal self-loathing.

Photo by James Cridland