A new coat of arms for the ACT that will be used instead of the existing Canberra coat of arms is currently being pushed on us by the Labor-Greens government. You would think they would have better things to worry about like poor hospital waiting times, declining academic results in our schools, the housing crisis or spiralling debt.
The suggestion we need a separate coat of arms for Canberra and the ACT is nonsense given we are in many ways a city state. The current Canberra coat of arms has served both purposes well for nearly a century.
In fact, a modified Canberra coat of arms was chosen in 1993 as the central element of the ACT flag following a process of community engagement and a voluntary vote conducted by the ACT electoral office. No doubt any new coat of arms will lead to a change of the ACT flag which would be pointless and disappointing.
The Canberra coat of arms that flies proudly on our flag also has important links to our history. The coat of arms was designed in 1928 to provide the cruiser HMAS Canberra with a coat of arms which would sail with the ship. Some years later, HMAS Canberra was sunk by the Japanese in the battle of Savo Island in World War 2 with the loss of 82 brave sailors. We should not dismiss this legacy so lightly.
Sadly, it seems the existing coat of arms is clearly not "progressive" enough in its design for the Labor-Greens government despite it having been used as a de-facto ACT coat of arms for many decades and been the popular choice for the ACT flag.
By trying to impose a new coat of arms on us all, the Labor and Greens MLAs are trying to wipe our history, disrespect the memory of our lost servicemen, ignore the popular vote for our flag in 1993 and create a distraction from their ongoing mismanagement of basic services.
To see how far the current Labor MLAs have drifted from their roots in their attempts to diminish the Canberra coat of arms it is interesting to see what Rosemary Follet said of the Canberra coat of arms when the process to design the ACT's flag was commenced:
"... because of the history of that coat of arms and because it was dedicated to the city of Canberra, it still has a place in our symbolism, and we ought to find some place for that tradition. The ACT is not so overwhelmed with tradition and history that we want to throw out any of it. I would very much like to see at least that part of our tradition maintained."
The current Canberra coat of arms has a somewhat antiquated design and is rich in heraldry, that's actually the point of a coat of arms. It isn't meant to be a "modern" design that changes with the latest fashions. Importantly though, among other symbols it represents the first peoples as well as the European settlers through the black and white swans.
I suggest we stop this whole pointless exercise. However, if it does progress as I fear, then I suggest the new design be taken to a voluntary popular vote with various design options presented.
The current Canberra coat of arms must be one of the design options people can choose and vote for so we can keep our flag and history intact, honour sailors who died on our behalf and get back to focusing on delivering better services for the people of the ACT.
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