It became a running joke of the Abbott era that journalists could determine the “seriousness” of an announcement by the number of flags Abbott had in the background of his press briefing. Abbott was determined to lead a flag-based economic recovery. Leader of the opposition in the Senate Penny Wong asked the government to detail exactly how much had been spent in the last financial year on flags. In a response she received yesterday, the government revealed 936 flags had been purchased in the 2014-2015 financial year for a total of $109,058. Most of the flags were for the G20 Summit, or government visits.

Unsurprisingly, the most represented flag was the Australian flag at 171, but the government also purchased 110 Ukrainian flags, possibly to do with the Ukrainian government’s involvement with the MH17 investigation. Perhaps this is why Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has reportedly invited Abbott to go work in the Ukraine now that he has a bit more time on his hands?

The full breakdown is below:

Interestingly, it seems not all flags are created equal, and some flags are much more expensive than others. While we’re assuming a bulk discount can apply for some flags — for example, Australian flags were $62.50 each — some were a bit more expensive. US flags were $251 each, while Mexican flags were a massive $660 each.

Since Turnbull became PM, there has been a significant downturn for the flag industry in Australia, with the PM opting  for just two flags at most of his prime ministerial announcements.

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Peter Fray

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