Sunday, January 01, 2006

Australian council bans flag for being divisive.

Australia: This does well for community relations, banning the Australian flag because its a symbol for racial violence.

PLANS to fly Australian flags over the famous Bondi Beach pavilion were vetoed because of fears the symbols could incite more racial violence on Sydney's beaches. In a decision met with outrage from locals, returned servicemen and ethnic groups, Waverley Council voted 6-5 against the proposal, declaring the popular beach should remain clear of flags to "remove provocation". Mayor Mora Main and fellow Green George Copeland led a block of Labor councillors including deputy mayor George Newhouse, Peter Moscatt and Ingrid Strewe in rejecting the proposal by Liberal councillor Joy Clayton on December 13. The Australian flag and an Aboriginal flag were to be provided by Liberal MP Malcolm Turnbull, who yesterday led a chorus of opposition to the decision. He described the decision as "ridiculous" and remained hopeful council would do a backflip in the face of public backlash. "I just don't understand why such an iconic building on such an iconic location shouldn't have the Australian flag flying," he said. "It was just politically correctness which is sadly what you get often from the Left on councils." But an unapologetic Mr Copeland said the council remained concerned about a repeat of the Cronulla racial violence. "The Australian flag was used by both sides as a symbol around which to perpetrate racial violence," Mr Copeland said. "The people from Lakemba burnt the flag and the Cronulla people swathed themselves in it while pounding people. We didn't want to wave a red rag in front of either side on New Year's Eve." Muslim leaders yesterday described the council's stance as misguided and presumptuous. Islamic Friendship Association of Australia founder Keysar Trad said decisions made on behalf of Muslims with no consultation only caused further division. "To suggest that Muslims would be offended at the sight of the Australian flag is naive. A great deal of Muslims call Australia home and they are just as happy to see the flag flying high," he said. The council has also offended community organisations which proudly fly the national flag. Police Association president Bob Pritchard said he could not envisage any context under which the Australian flag would incite racial tensions. "It (the flag) represents us all - it should not represent any separation of race or instil any feelings of racial tension," he said. "This is political correctness taken to the extreme and is wrong." Ms Main said yesterday concerns about racial unrest were only part of the reason behind the council's decision. "I don't think it's being politically correct," she said. "It's just that Bondi is not a ceremonial place. It's a place for recreation."
Pathetic. It would be interesting if flags started popping up all over Bondi Beach and the rest of Sydney as a big FU to these wretched politicians.

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