Moss Vale Public School in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales is a part of my electorate. Whenever I have visited the school I have found them to be a school that is made up of a diverse student body and caring parents and teachers, and a school that is very engaged with the community. They are driven by a community of parents, teachers and students who really care about the world around them.
I was delighted earlier this year to receive a package from them with some suggestions about what a new Australian flag might look like. I think those suggestions should be carefully considered. They offered not only lots of fantastic and colourful designs but also lots of great stories. I want to take this opportunity to thank Tyler Doughty, Riley Kenny, Safiya Apostolatos, Samantha Roberts, Byron Shaw, Belinda Lawrence, Ellen Hawthorn, Cooper Neale, Adele Semmler, Tanya Baxter, Thomas Anderson, Kate Rich, Isabella Fitch, Jessica Jobe, Arianna Stone, Riley Simpson, Eva Sabatier, Riley Tozer, Brandon Field, Brielle Sheather, Regan Daley and Shiarra Waugh.
The students had some very interesting things to say. Tyler said that he had heard that New Zealand were about to change their flag and thought that we should get in on the action. He reckons ours needs to be updated because it is 114 years of old and—let's be honest—nobody looks so good after 114 years. Riley Kenny—there are actually quite a few Riley's in the class—simply said that we should change the flag because it was boring and had too many blue stars. We do not have to agree with all the comments the kids made, but I am really pleased they are engaging with issues such as this.
Meanwhile Byron reckons that our flag does not represent the cultural diversity of modern Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Samantha, who is 10, also agrees that representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is lacking. She also thinks that the Union Jack should go because we are not ruled by Britain anymore. Sophia says that changing to a new flag would be a lovely change and that a flag with some kangaroos and the inclusion of the colours red, black and yellow would be a top idea. Brielle also agrees with the point about representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and further points out that the current version lacks a bit of colour. Brandon does not think there should be too much change at all. He wants to keep the Southern Cross, but he wants to incorporate some recognition of the First Australians. There are plenty of ideas. I cannot get through all of the contributions here, but I wanted to thank the students for sending them through to me and to tell them I am really engaged with the suggestions and ideas.