The Fitz Files
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Flagging fortunes await Union Jack in the corner

TFF was buried under emails and tweets after Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's comments to the BBC on the subject of whether Australia might follow New Zealand's move into the 21st century by looking at changing its flag.

''Believe it or not,'' she said, ''[the flag] is not an issue that actually draws much attention in Australia. I believe we will stick with the flag. There's no great demand to change it and many Australians have fought and died under that flag, sadly. We have competed in Olympic Games under that flag and there's a sense of pride in it.'' She went on to note the flag contained the Southern Cross which was, ''very Australian''. She even said she hadn't wanted to raise the subject of removing the Union Jack with Foreign Secretary William Hague and Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and certainly wasn't going to raise it with the Queen - as if the views of those three English people have something to do with what WE AUSTRALIANS want to do with the flag! Where to even begin? Personally, I need a cup of tea and a lie-down, and will resume in the next segment …

Canadian change

OK, I am calm. Ish. My first question is what bubble is the minister living in that the constant debate about the need to change the flag now going on all over Australia - at a level never before seen - has escaped her? Is her primary reason to not change really because of the most repeated furphy of the lot, that ''our soldiers fought and died for it''? Does she not know that the few times Australians displayed the flag in wartime before 1954 - when Prime Minister Menzies promoted the current blue ensign - it was the red ensign that was used and in WWI it was mostly the Union Jack at that? Early on, the Defence Department was very much against the display of the blue ensign as being too marine, and in the first action of WWI - the taking of Rabaul from the Germans - it was the Union Jack that was raised. As one writing a book on Gallipoli at the moment, who has done books on Nancy Wake, Kokoda and Tobruk, I can recall not a single episode I've read where the flag, one way or t'other, was an issue. Canada changed its flag in 1965, and they all now love their distinctively Canadian flag. Was that disrespectful to their war veterans at the time though? Did they not go to an Olympics before that? I'm sorry. I need another cup of tea and a good lie-down.

Tragic mystery

The Malaysia Airlines flight? Has there ever been a greater aviation mystery, at least in the modern age? Have you ever seen more claims, counter-claims, counter-counter-claims by serious people all asserting quite opposing views? What is the explanation? I have no idea, nor even suspicions, but that mystery is, primarily, what last week will be remembered for. All strength to the families.

Joke of the week

What is the greatest kids joke of all time? For my money it is this'un, so long as you do the hand actions with it. Take it away, maestro …

It is morning time in Bullawacky Billabong and the wide-mouthed frog decides it is time to go exploring.


Hippity-hop, hippity-hop - off he goes, and soon he comes to a wombat.

''Hello, Mr Wombat,'' says the wide-mouthed frog. ''What do you do?'' ''Well,'' says the wombat, ''I sleep in my burrow and come lumbering out at night to look for food, and then I get back to my burrow before the sun comes up, so I can sleep all day before doing it all again.''

''That's great,'' says the wide-mouthed frog. ''Cheerio!''

Hippity-hop, hippity-hop - off he goes again, and presently he comes to a massive goanna.

''Hello, Mr Goanna,'' says the wide-mouthed frog. ''What do you do?''

The goanna looks him up and down and then says, ''I eat wide-mouthed frogs.''

''Oh,'' says the wide-mouthed frog, desperately pushing the sides of his mouth together with his little fingers, ''You don't see many of those around.''

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

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