Fiji has more important issues to tackle, friend says

FIJI could become the 51st former member of the British Empire to change its flag and still keep its Commonwealth membership.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said his country planned to remove its colonial symbols (the union jack and the British lion) from the national flag, making it more relevant to modern Fiji.

Flags Australia vice-president Tony Burke said countries changed their flags quite often.

"Most of the world's flags are not that old," he said. "If citizens agree to change a flag they should change it."

Mr Burke said if Australians wanted to remove the union jack on their flag they should do it.

"It's a British flag and we have had it on loan for more than 200 years," he said.

"If you take a book out on loan from the library you should return it."

Cema Simpson, a member of the Fijian community in Gladstone, said it was disappointing to see the move to change the national symbol.

"I believe more thought should have been given before embarking on it.

"Flags are an important part of our identity and reflect our history past and present as a symbolic representation of the country and its people.

"Fijians fought and died under it in two world wars. What is the dollar value of these changes when we change our Fiji flag?

"There are more important issues for the Fiji government to deal with than making plans to change the country's flag.

"Issues like our health and education system, poverty alleviation etc.

"So please fly your Fiji flag high. God Bless Fiji."

Topics:  commonwealth fiji flag gladstone

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