‘Flag Man’s’ rally hit with Shire hurdle
Plans for a rally in Cowaramup to celebrate an Australian flag with an alternative design have hit a hurdle, with organiser Fred “the Flag Man” Rieben weighing up his options.
Planned for December to coincide with the anniversary of the Eureka Stockade, local government insurance requirements could stymie the event.
Mr Rieben said more then 1200 cars across the Capes now displayed his flag-design stickers — a design he is intent on taking nationwide.
The Margaret River resident told the Times stickers on cars was one of the most effective ways to share the message but admitted keeping up with demand could be difficult.
“Support just seems to keep growing and growing,” he said. “But I’m not surprised. “Right here is the best place in Australia to light the spark, get people talking, and eventually get this flag on top of Parliament House.”
The blue, gold and green flag was perfected by Mr Rieben over several decades and depicts the Southern Cross, a boomerang — paying homage to the country’s Aboriginal heritage — and red dots, which he said had several interpretations.
When turned on its side, it can be read as “sky, sea, beach and bush”, Mr Rieben said. Its designer insists the intent is not to “trash history” or “ruin our connection to the UK”, but rather to ensure the flag’s accuracy.
“The fact is, the current flag is incorrect,” Mr Rieben said.
“In ‘flag language’, our current flag says the Australian Commonwealth is subservient to the UK, but in 1986, the Hawke government ended all provisions for appeal to the Privy Council, making the flag’s statement inac- curate. This is a 19th-century design for a 21st-century society.”
Shire of Augusta-Margaret River waste, health and ranger services manager Ruth Levett said Mr Rieben had been told of “considerable compliance requirements for a public event”.
“He will need to supply additional information and substantiation to the Shire,” she said.
The rally to muster support was previously planned for Cowaramup on December 3.
Fred the Flag Man has redesigned the Australian flag and is promoting it all over the South West. Here he stands in the middle of Margaret River with his proud work.