Civics Symbols: Introduction

National and official flags are something that a country’s citizens usually feel strongly about. The ways flags are designed and used have very important meanings for them and can be very controversial. This is true of Australian citizens. Some people have suggested that our current national flag should be changed, while others insist it must stay the same for always (Our country has had more than one national flag in its history and uses several official flags today for different purposes). Still others have serious objections to the way the flags are sometimes treated, for example during the riots at Cronulla, NSW. Many people do not know the history of the flags or the rules (called protocols) about how they should be used.

In this investigation you will be asked to find out about when and how flags are used in Australia, on both formal and informal occasions. You will investigate why flags are an important part of society and what they mean. You will look at the rules about flag use and what happens when the rules are broken.

Finally, you will be asked to look at what actions could be taken in the future to make the use of flags in our communities a positive thing for all citizens.

Overall Aim

After exploring this topic you will have learned about the meanings and uses of flags in Australia. You will have examined a range of situations which involve flags and how people feel at these times. You will have analysed the actions of various groups and their possible effects on other citizens. You will also have become aware of your own values and feelings about Australian flags. You will apply these values, skills and feelings to possible future developments in the use of these particular symbols and suggest better ways that citizens could make use of their flags.

Focus Questions

What are the flags of Australia and what do they mean to Australian citizens? How do people use flags in Australia? What positive or negative effects can this have? How could better use be made of our flags?


In your investigation, you will look at Australian flags and the ways in which Australians use them. You will find out about the meanings and rules connected with flags. You will investigate the different effects flags have on the behaviour and thinking of various groups and whether these effects are positive or not. Then you will be asked to consider possible future issues connected with flag use.

For the teacher | Introduction | Investigation | Review existing information | Report the findings | Taking Action | Evaluation and assessment | Resources