2020 Messages

Australian National Flag Day on September 3rd, the birthday of the flag, gives us the opportunity to reflect on the significance and importance of our flag.

Each year, Flag Day Australia receives messages from the nation’s leaders in commemoration of Flag Day. Coming from a wide spectrum of Australian dignitaries, the messages are thoughtful and offer valuable perspectives on the significance of the flag.

With Australia experiencing natural disasters and the COVID pandemic, the 2020 messages paid special tribute to significance of the unity of all Australians under the flag.

Flag Day Australia is grateful to the prominent Australians who have taken the time to form these thoughtful messages.


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

On 3 September 1901, the Australian National Flag was flown for the first time over the dome of the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. Today, 119 years later, our National Flag flies from many buildings in Australia and in other parts of the world, from our Embassies overseas to the homes of ordinary Australians.

Key elements of our history are represented on our National Flag. For Linda and me, especially at this challenging time, the Federation Star evokes a feeling of immense pride. The Federation Star represents the unity of our states and territories. When we look at the Star, we are reminded of how good our nation can be when Australians are united in purpose. We have seen evidence of this recently in our responses to natural disasters and the COVID-19 health pandemic.

Today, on Australian National Flag Day, I encourage all Australians to be proud of our enduring national symbol, to consider what it means to them, and to undertake a personal commitment to be kind and compassionate in their interactions with others.

I commend once again the Australian National Flag Association for its work in encouraging people to identify with our foremost national symbol.

GG message – Australian National Flag Day

From the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison MP

On 3 September 1901, the newly designed Australian flag was flown over Melbourne’s Exhibition Building – its bright colours shining proudly above the city’s bluestone buildings.

Since that day, the Australian Flag stood witness to the moments that have shaped our national life.

Our flag flies above our Parliament; is hoisted high at international contests; worn on the uniforms of our Defence personnel; bears witness to the pledges of new citizens; and is waved happily during our moments of national joy.

Our flag is a part of who we are. Its importance lies in what it represents – who we are as a people here and abroad, in times of triumph and in times of tragedy.

It embodies the confidence we have as a Federation, a liberal democracy, and as a free people.

I wear our flag every day on my lapel – it’s something I’ve done for many years. I regard it as a living memory and reminder of who we are as Australians. The values we all share of a commitment to peace and liberty, to equality and resilience, all forged under our flag.

In times of challenge, such as these, the flag is a symbol of hope. A reminder that we are one united people, part of one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies, and committed to each other through good times and bad.

I encourage all Australians to take a moment on National Flag Day to pause and reflect on the meaning of the Australian Flag.

National Flag Day 2020

From the Leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese MP

We should always take pride in the fact that our flag resulted from a design competition open to all Australians. Likewise the fact that there were nearly 33,000 entries – at a time we only had a population of 3.6 million.

It’s a story we can take pride in as Australians, without ever making the mistake of letting the flag become a laurel to rest on. We can also pause to reflect on the fact that not every Australian has a straightforward relationship with the flag, not least many of our First Nations people.

We should think of our flag not just as a reminder of all that we have achieved and all that we have as a nation, but as an invitation to us all to do even better and achieve more of Australia’s rich potential.

We mark National Flag Day this year during a time of pandemic. We are all in this together. Let us be as bold and ambitious as that invitation and come out of the pandemic even more together than we went in.

Albanese – Australian National Flag Day

From the Federal Member for Canning, Andrew Hastie MP

This year on 3 September we celebrate the 119th anniversary of the first time the Australian National Flag was flown. The Flag represents our heritage, our geography and our federal character. Thousands have fought and died defending the ideals our Flag embodies.

Australian National Flag Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate our national identity and I encourage all Australians to participate by flying or displaying the Flag on 3 September 2020.

Flag Day Message Andrew Hastie MP

From former Prime Minister, John Howard OM AC

The Australian Flag remains integral to our history as a nation. It successfully blends so much of what we proudly call the Australian achievement.

Australian National Flag Day Message 2020

From Chief of the Defence Force, General Angus Campbell, AO, DSC

The Australian national flag identifies and unites Australians, representing all that we do. Since it was first flown on 3 September 1901, the Australian flag has grown to become an icon that symbolises our heritage, values, and character as a nation. It demonstrates our pride in our national achievements.

The Australian flag is especially significant to Australian Defence Force personnel who have served under our flag, to protect the freedoms that Australians enjoy today. We proudly wear the flag on our uniform each day as a constant reminder of our duty to serve the nation and honour those who gave their lives to defend it.

On 3 September, Australian National Flag Day, I encourage all Australians to reflect on what our flag represents, and the sacrifices made under this flag for our nation.

Flag Day 2020 Message from CDF

From the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Matt Anderson PSM

Today we celebrate the 119th anniversary of the Australian National Flag which provides us with a unique opportunity to celebrate its significance and recognise the part it plays in the history of our nation.

We also observe Merchant Navy Day and today we recognise the Merchant Navy, the Australian red ensign and the Australian National Flag today.

This day serves as a reminder to current and future generations of the values and beliefs our flag stands for and is strongly shaped and upheld by those who serve in the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Airforce.

We remember the service and sacrifice of those who have served under the Australian Flag, during times of conflict, as well as in those times of humanitarian need and on peacekeeping missions.

AWM National Flag Day 2020

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

I am proud to contribute to the community messages that recognize the importance of Australia’s National Flag Day, on 3rd September. I also thank the Australian National Flag Association (NSW) for all they do to, communicate the importance and significance of our national symbol – the Australian National Flag.

Since its introduction in 1901, our national flag has been a symbol of great pride in our country. With this year recognising the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII, we once again remember the bravery, courage & sacrifice of those who served our country, of those who paid the supreme sacrifice & those who returned to their families. The capacity for endurance of the common man, facing uncommon danger, is a lesson that every generation needs to understand, together with appreciation for the freedom we enjoy today.

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 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. When the Australian Red Ensign is flown along with the Australian National Flag, the Australian National Flag is flown in the position of honour.

Our flag is a symbol of the nationhood that has carried our country during good times and tough times, through peace and war, and under which we have strived for democratic freedoms, democracy and celebrated the shared values of our citizenship.


From the Governor of NSW, Margaret Beazley AC QC

On the occasion of National Flag Day, I convey my best wishes to the Australian National Flag Association (NSW).

The flying of the first Australian National Flag on 3 September 1901 at the first home of our Commonwealth Parliament, at the Royal Exhibition buildings, Melbourne was a day of national joy.

Our flag is a symbol of the nationhood that has carried our country during good times and tough times, through peace and war, and under which we have strived for democratic freedoms and celebrated the shared values of our citizenship.

In marking special events and achievements, in welcoming our new citizens and in remembering those who have served and continue to serve our nation, our flag serves as a proud symbol of our 119-year history as a nation. Equally, it unfurls at many happy community events that unify us as Australians from many different faiths and cultures.

In 2020, we again embrace, respect and rejoice in our unity within our diversity, while marking this unique day – National Flag Day.

20200824 – National Flag Day – Message

From the Governor of Western Australia, Kim Beazley AC 

Australian National Flag Day is an opportunity for individuals, community organisations, local authorities, businesses and schools to celebrate the anniversary of the Australian National Flag.

First flown on the 3rd September 1901, the flag was known back then as the Commonwealth blue ensign. Since Federation, we have gained a new sense of what it means to be Australian and these sentiments can always be found when we look upon our national flag today.

The flag unites us on every important occasion – whether in celebration or sorrow – and is a symbol of our national identity, the story of our past and of our future, and our diverse and multicultural society.

It is important to recognise that the Australian National Flag now sits alongside the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag as a collective symbol of our country.

I thank the Australian National Flag Association WA for the opportunity to share in the occasion of the 119th anniversary of the Australian National Flag. A day to reflect on the journey of our country so far, and all that we hope to achieve in the future.

200902 Kim Beazley message

From the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian MP

I am pleased to support Australian National Flag Day 2020, marking 119 years since the national flag was first flown.

It is a time to reflect on all that has been achieved under the Australian flag and the society we have built together based on opportunity, fairness and inclusion.

The flag’s Commonwealth Star, representing the eight states and territories of the Federation, has special significance this year as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic together.

I thank the Australian National Flag Association for the opportunity to share in this occasion and encourage households, businesses, schools and local authorities across NSW to fly the Australian flag with pride on 3 September.

Australian National Flag Day 2020

From the NSW Leader of the Opposition, Jodi McKay MP:

I would like to extend my best wishes to the Australian National Flag Association as we celebrate Australian National Flag Day 2020.

Since Federation, the Australian Flag has been proudly flown across our nation as an important and unique symbol of our national identity.

On September 3, we acknowledge and celebrate the anniversary of the Australian Flag and its continuing significance in representing our rich and diverse nation.

2020 Australian National Flag Day – Jodi McKay

From the Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk MP

I commend the Australian National Flag Association for its ongoing commitment to increasing public awareness of the history and significance of our chief national symbol.

For 119 years, Australians have united under one banner to face the challenges that come our way, from world wars to natural disasters and now a pandemic.

As we navigate our way through the social and economic turbulence of 2020, it is natural to want to scan the horizon for reminders of our nation’s fortitude and triumphs over adversity.

There is no more powerful a reminder than the Australian Flag.

Waving fiercely in today’s unpredictable winds, it offers time-weighted assurance that we will recover, as we have done after every difficult chapter of our nation’s history.

On 3 September, Australian National Flag Day, I encourage Queenslanders to look to this national symbol and reflect on what continues to make ours The Lucky Country, even in the hard times.

Message from Qld Premier 2020

From the Queensland Leader of the Opposition, Deb Frecklington MP

I am proud and privileged to be an Australian.

We should never take our nation for granted and we should never forget how fortunate we are to live in a beautiful, open and free country.

That’s why I support the Australian National Flag Association’s annual celebration of our national flag.

The flag is the ultimate symbol of Australia, of its history and values.

In peace and in war, the flag unites us all.

I love to see our flag flying at sporting events and on public buildings, but it’s even more uplifting to see everyday Australians proudly flying the flag outside their homes or businesses.

So I urge all Australians to get behind Flag Day.

This year, as Australians in every state and territory face an unprecedented crisis, it is important to show that our nation remains strong and united.

I urge Australians to keep looking out for one another.

And, if you can, please make sure you fly the flag high on September 3.

From the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan MLA

Well known internationally, our chief national symbol by law, custom and tradition since 3 September 1901, the Australian Flag has been flown during the most
significant events in Australian history. Events of celebration, such as the Olympic Games of Melbourne and Sydney, and events remembering tragedy, such as annual
ANZAC Day ceremonies, all involve the national flag in important ways.

Many flag designs have been used to represent Australia, some of which are still flown at various sporting events. However, no other flag is more commonly recognised than our now commonly called People’s Flag. Representing Australians from all backgrounds, the Australian flag continues to be flown and displayed with dignity and pride.

As a proud Royal Australian Navy man, the Australian National Flag and Australian White Ensign will forever be a symbol of pride for me.

I congratulate the work of the volunteers of the Australian National Flag Association for their continued dedication to the flag on the occasion of its 119th Anniversary.

Message signed by Premier 02092020

From the Western Australia Leader of the Opposition, Liza Harvey MLA

For 119 years, the Australian Flag has flown proudly at times of war, peace and prosperity.

Since becoming a nation in 1901, it has been a fantastic symbol of the evolving Australian story.

It is instantly recognised around the world, with its nod to our past through the Union Jack and its celebration of our geographical uniqueness through the five white stars of the Southern Cross, plus one symbolising the Commonwealth.

Through good times and bad, it has brought comfort to those in distress and hope to the helpless. 

We see it proudly draped over the shoulders of our Olympic champions. 

We see it hugging the young Australians backpackers as they gather at Gallipoli every year to celebrate Anzac Day. 

It flutters over buildings big and small right across this huge country, from caravan parks to swimming pools, from suburban flagpoles to country backyards.

It’s our flag, it’s part of who we are, as a people and a nation, and I hope it remains that way for many years to come.

From the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore

On behalf of the City of Sydney, I send my best wishes for National Flag Day, 2020.

The Australian National Flag is a powerful emblem of our shared identity as Australians, and our communal values of respect, inclusion and freedom. First used in 1901, the flag was the banner under which Australia went to war and established its presence on the international stage. It remains a symbol of solidarity in times of hardship and celebration.

At this particularly challenging time for Australia, and for countries around the world, our national flag reminds Australians of how fortunate we are to live in this country. It also reminds us of our shared histories and responsibility to care for this land, as well as our aspirations as a compassionate and diverse country.

On September 3, as on other days, the national flag was flown with pride across the City of Sydney.

Message from the Lord Mayor

From the Mayor of Ipswich, Teresa Harding

When I see the Australian National Flag fly, it calls to mind the history and achievements of this proud nation over the last 119 years. The hard work of our men and women at home has been defended with valour by our service-people abroad, all to achieve the prosperous and democratic nation that we live in today.

The flag captures our democratic spirit: in 1901 Australia’s first Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Barton, announced that its design would be open to the people. There were 32,823 entries to the competition, and the winning design was made in parallel by five Australians from across the nation. In true egalitarian spirit, the winners shared the £200 prize.

The flag speaks to what Australians can accomplish when we work together. The six stars on the flag were the first symbols of our federation – the moment when each state decided that they could form an even stronger whole together. We have shown this strength in unity to the world at every opportunity since 1901.

I thank the Australian National Flag Association for encouraging all Australians to fly the flag on 3 September and to reflect on what this national symbol means to each of us.