One of the more aggravating things about the Voice campaign was the corporate partisanship encountered in places and from sources that really should have bitten their tongues. Take Coles, for instance, which has a branch in Melbourne’s western suburbs — and no doubt other locations as well — where the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were on proud display atop the hulking great grey bulk of the Fort Knox-style cigarette cabinet.
When the checkout individual (one dare not use “chick” in these sensitive times) was quizzed why the Australian flag was not up there to make it a threesome, the lass replied that those on display are “the original Australian flags”. As she was no more than 17, such sorry ignorance can be attributed to schools and teachers who have spurned worthwhile history lessons to fill her young mind with mush.
What is to said, though, for the Reserve Bank’s newly installed Governor Michele Bullock, who might well wear her heart on her sleeve for the nation whose economy it is her job to jolly along, but favoured for her lapel the Coles two-flag standard when making a first appearance before Senate estimates (as pictured and circled above).
The absence of Australia’s national flag tickled the interest of Quadrant reader Jonathan Morris, who dashed off a quick query to the RBA public relations office. It is reproduced below:
From: Jonathan Morris
Sent: Friday, 27 October 2023 12:19 PM
Subject: Reserve Bank Governor at Senate Estimates
I observed the RBA Governor, Michele Bullock, attending the Senate Committee yesterday. I noticed the Governor was wearing a lapel badge which displayed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags, but no Australian flag. Why was the Governor not wearing a lapel badge that displayed all three flags? What message was the Governor attempting to convey by wearing a lapel badge that only displayed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags? Is the Governor ashamed to wear a lapel badge which features the Australian flag?
Mere hours later, the RBA’s communications unit replied (emphasis added):
To: Jonathan Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, 27 October 2023 at 03:56:04 pm AEDT
Subject: RE: Reserve Bank Governor at Senate Estimates
Dear Mr Morris
Thank you for your email on the Governor’s lapel badge. She is a proud Australian who would be honoured to wear a lapel badge with the Australian flag. She is also a great supporter of diversity and inclusion, and was given this badge by one of our first nations employees. It was with this recent gesture in mind that she wore the badge. Going forward, we’ll give some more thought as to what to wear for different circumstances.
Reserve Bank of Australia
One doesn’t like to get a dedicated public servant into trouble, but Ms Stacey is clearly in error for failing to upper-case ‘First Nations’. Let us hope for her sake that the gent who garlanded Ms Bullock’s blazer doesn’t learn about this, er, capital offence. Who knows what complaints might be filed with the HR department, diversity trainers, equity overseers and whichever indigenous incendiarist the RBA uses for its smoking ceremonies?
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