2023 Messages

From the Governor General, David Hurley AC DSC (Retd)

Australian National Flag Day is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate what it means to be Australian.

The Australian National Flag is a symbol of our nation.

Our service men and women have fought under our national flag. New citizens swear allegiance under our flag. It is flown on buildings around Australia and in other parts of the world. It is present during ceremonial occasions and is proudly waved at sporting events.

The Australian National Flag instils great pride.

Pride in what our national has become since Federation, pride in what we have achieved over the last 122 years, and pride at our potential as a nation.


From the Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese MP

On Australian National Flag Day, I’m delighted to see Australians coming together as we celebrate one of our nation’s great symbols.

The Australian National Flag is an enduring presence in the lives of all Australians. It flies over our triumphs and tragedies, it accompanies us as we mourn, and lifts our hearts when we gather to celebrate.

It was a tremendous honour to walk behind our flag-bearer, Sam Kerr, at the Coronation of King Charles III in May, as part of the Australian delegation. The progress of the Australian National Flag down Westminster Abbey, carried by a great young Australian, was an historic moment and a proud tribute to our modern, democratic, multicultural nation.

I’m always very proud to stand with the Australian National Flag. On National Flag Day, let’s celebrate our flag as a symbol of our shared history and our optimism for the future.


From the Leader of the Opposition, Peter Dutton MP

On 20 November 1953, Prime Minister Robert Menzies introduced the Flags Bill to
Parliament. That piece of legislation formalised the use of the Blue Ensign as the
Australian National Flag which had become common practice since it was first flown over the Commonwealth Parliament on 3 September 1901.

Percy Joske, a lawyer who was elected as the Member for Balaclava and became part of Menzies’ Liberal government, spoke on the Flags Bill a few weeks after his Prime Minister.

He discussed the symbolism of the Australian flag and explained the pride and devotion Australians felt towards it, saying:

“Our flag will now appear in the pages of the statute-book. Even a weary and austere
lawyer may find his eye brightening, and his heart tingling when he sees it there.
When we see it wafted in the breeze it will be an inspiration to all of us.”

The sentiments Joske expressed seventy years ago remain true for Australians today.

Our national flag embodies the spirit of Australians. It speaks to our historical
achievement. It encapsulates our traditions, institutions and values. And wherever we see the Australian flag – flown outside schools and our institutions, waved by spectators at sporting events, embroidered on the uniforms of our service personnel – it stirs deep within us a sense of gratitude for being a citizen of this great country and a feeling of admiration for our modern nation.

This year will be a consequential year for Australians as we head to the polls to vote in a referendum – many of us for the first time. There will be much which informs the decision of every Australian when they cast their vote. I hope that Australians will have our national flag on their mind when they vote – a flag which says, more than anything else, that we are one country and one people.

Whether we were born Australian, have been Australian for many years, or have just
become Australian, we are all Australians. On this National Flag Day, let our flag remind us of the importance of our unity.


From the Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk MP

On 3 September – Australian National Flag Day – our national flag will be raised around the State at schools, businesses, community organisations, homes, landmarks and the Queensland Parliament, marking 122 years since it was first flown in 1901.

All Queenslanders and Australians can take pride in the flag, which is a distinct powerful symbol of unity and our shared national identity, no matter our location, ancestry, culture, faith, ability, age or gender.

The flag is also a reflection of the strength of our nation and it has endured through times of celebration or loss, through wars, pandemics, natural disasters and periods of economic uncertainty.

Since 1908, the Australian flag has been raised for medal winners at every Olympic Games and we will proudly see it raised in Queensland at the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in nine years’ time.

The national flag reminds us of the contributions of Queenslanders and Australians – past and present – and the legacy they have entrusted us with for future generations.

Despite the global challenges we continue to face, the presence of our national flag reminds us to draw together in our communities, celebrate our diversity and continue to work together towards a bright harmonious future for everyone.

I commend the Australian National Flag Association (Queensland) for continuing to raise awareness of the flag and its long, treasured history.

This Australian National Flag Day is a wonderful opportunity for Queenslanders to fly or display the flag, discover more about its history and celebrate its significance.


From the Chairman of the Merchant Navy War Memorial Fund, David Field FAICD

In 1901 two flags were born…. The blue Australian National Flag and the Australian Red Ensign, the official flag to be flown at sea by Australian registered merchant ships.

The 3rd of September also marks Merchant Navy Day. It is an opportunity to
remember the service and sacrifice of thousands of Australia’s merchant mariners during wartime. We commemorate Merchant Navy Day each year on 3 September, as it is the anniversary of the first attack on an Allied merchant ship in World War II, only hours after Britain declared war on Germany in 1939.

During the World Wars and the Vietnam War, merchant ships and their civilian crew
transported service personnel, supplies and equipment. Some merchant ships were also converted into hospital ships for vital wartime medical service. In World War II, some merchant ships were refitted with limited defensive capabilities.

For the most part, though, vessels in the merchant navy were often unarmed during
wartime. This exposed them to enemy attacks in foreign waters and closer to Australian shores. Merchant mariners worked with the constant threat of attack from enemy submarines, surface raiders, aircraft, and sea mines. Their work was especially dangerous when their ship was part of a slow convoy or travelling alone and unprotected.

Australia has always been dependent on shipping for trade, freight movements,
transport, and tourism. As such, Australians have served on board merchant ships
for hundreds of years. In times of peace, as well as in the difficult and dangerous times of war.

On Merchant Navy Day, we also thank current day Merchant Mariners and
acknowledge how dependent all Australians are, on the vital role they perform.