OPINION: As Cricket Australia in all its politically correctness put it earlier this week, Australia Day means “different things to different people”. But no matter your thoughts on the national day and what it should become in the future, the Australian flag should still be recognised with the highest regard.

We’ve seen the images on the telly of a small minority of people burning flags, graffiting flags and desecrating monuments. What does that achieve but pour more fuel on the fire, metaphorically speaking. There are other ways to present one’s opinion about what Australia Day should represent but simplistic acts like that are not the right way to go.

Our national flag symbolises the democratic freedoms our military forebearers fought to protect through two world wars, it represents our Australian way of life in this generation and the next and it reflects how we are proudly Australian for one and all – indigenous, non-indigenous, born here in Australia or not.

The Australian government describes the flag as one of the country’s “most important symbols” which should be used with “respect and dignity”.

Disrespecting the Australian flag is as good as a kick in the guts for proud Australians who want nothing more than to celebrate with everyone, how lucky we are to live in a country like Australia. Sure, many of us here are in a privileged position and fortunate to be afforded the luxuries of life – a roof over our head, food in the fridge and family supports. Others elsewhere in the world are not so lucky.

I’ve read how an increasing number of Australian councils are offering alternatives to Australia Day but this is our national holiday. The fact we as Australians can live our lives, raise our families and pursue our ambitions free from persecution or the threat of violence, is something that should not be taken for granted.

That is our celebration of Australia Day – to be thankful for all we have and not what we do not.

Conversations will continue for ever and a day about indigenous recognition in Australia, as they have countries across the world – and so they should because how can we ever move forward if we don’t address the past? Just leave the flag alone.

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