Parliament House’s Australian flag has a giant hole after wild Canberra weather
Uproar as giant Australian flag above Parliament House is allowed to fly with a ‘gaping hole’ in it: ‘We need to have pride in our flag’
- Parliament House in Canberra flies a huge Australian flag at the top
- Flag usually changed every month but left a week too long
- Now badly frayed at the edge and looking like a tatty mess
Controversial senator Lidia Thorpe has used the tattered state of the Parliament House flag to take a swipe at Australia’s history.
Coalition MPs complained about the ‘gaping hole’ in the giant Australian flag this week and casual observation reveals its fabric to be badly fraying at the edge.
Senator Thorpe, a frequent critic of Australia’s system of government, which she sees as a colonial hangover hostile to indigenous people, referred to The Queens as ‘the colonising her majesty’ when taking her oath of office last year.
‘Isn’t is fitting the colonial flag has a gaping hole?’ she wrote on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
The giant Australian flag flying atop Parliament House is a tattered mess after wild weather prevented it from being changed
Shadow immigration minister Dan Tehan complained on Wednesday about the state of the flag and demanded Prime Minister Anthony Albanese fix it.
‘Parliament will sit today under a flag that flies above Parliament House with a gaping hole in it,’ he said.
‘I hope Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will be able to fix this… we need to have pride in our institutions, we need to have pride in our parliament, and we need to have pride in our flag.’
Mr Albanese is on a plane to India for a three-day business and security tour with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but Speaker Milton Dick and Senate President Sue Lines promised to sort out the flag issue.
‘The national significance and the importance of the Australian flag cannot be overstated,’ they said.
‘We are aware of the unacceptable condition of the current Australian flag flying above Parliament House.’
Their joint statement explained the flag is usually changed on the first Wednesday over every month, from a rotating stable of flags.
However, high winds and thunderstorms meant the flag couldn’t be changed last week, as it usually would be, and suffered in the elements.
‘Changing the flag is a dangerous and complex undertaking due to the sheer size of the flag and the high wind conditions at that elevation,’ they explained.
‘Weather conditions must be favourable to ensure a safe changeover can take place. Recent weather conditions have posed an unacceptable risk to the safety for personnel to replace the current flag.
High winds and thunderstorms meant the flag couldn’t be changed last week, as it usually would be, and suffered in the elements
‘When there was an opportunity for staff to safely ascend the pole, the lift mechanism experienced a mechanical fault.’
The pair said the lift was undergoing urgent maintenance and the flag would be changed as soon as possible.
Mr Tehan’s response appeared to have no comprehension of the safety issues.
‘I hope their long list of excuses for the poor condition of the current flag will not delay this happening. Let’s also hope we don’t go through this again,’ he said.
Parliament House’s massive flagpole is 81m long and the flag itself measures 6.4m by 12m – bigger than a double-decker bus flipped on its side.