To display truly Australian credentials, wrap yourself in the flag. So far this week the flag-wrappers have included the Prime Minister (“The proposition that the display of the Australian flag should ever be banned anywhere in Australia is offensive“), the Opposition Leader (“Political correctness gone mad”), premiers, columnists and even The Chaser’s Chas Licciardello, who draped himself in an Australian flag outside a Sydney courtroom after being found innocent on a charge of offensive behaviour.

If you’re a politician who wants to demonstrate patriotism, you must never be found flagging. NSW Opposition Leader Peter Debnam follows this approach – yesterday he announced he would introduce a national symbols bill requiring the flag to be flown on all public buildings, outlaw attempts to ban the Australian flag, boost penalties for desecrating national symbols and link funding for councils to an edict to fly the flag if he won the state election in March.

As flagged by Debnam’s deeply kneejerk and populist announcement, a voter should never stand between an Australian politician and his flag. Expect more of the same between now and the federal election as they see who salutes when they run more of the same up the flagpole.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Crikey has a new editor. Jonathan Green is a highly experienced journalist and editor with a Crikeyish view of the world. He starts in his new role in a few weeks; in the meantime you can read about him here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey