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The official Australian South Sea Islander flag initially designed in consultation with the ASSI community and executive of the then Australian South Sea Islanders United Council (ASSIUC) in 1994. The flag was formally adopted in 1998 by ASSIUC. There was a recognised need for a flag that would stand with distinction alongside other flags and represent the ASSI community. That was no small consideration at a time when the condition of the Australian South Sea Islanders was beginning to attract international attention – the Sydney ASSIUC President having addressed the United Nations Special Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva in 1994 – followed by the belated recognition by the Commonwealth Government.
The flags design by choice compliments the national Australian flag in sizing and representation. The colour scheme incorporates colours resonant to people with forebears of which the three quarters of the trade were taken from the 83 islands of Vanuatu and are represented through colours green, gold and black, a third of the trade was from the Solomon Islands represented with blue, white, green. The overall flag is inclusive other parts of the South Pacific affected by Blackbirding as we are connected through the ocean blue and white stars.
Meaning of the design
Vertical black column
The black column next to the flag, the most important part of any flag - is for the people standing strong in community and surviving despite the hardships and injustices of the past.
Horizontal black band
The horizontal black band stands for our continuing in the future.
The bright blue recalls our origins from the South Pacific, the sea and the sky.
The brilliant blue is for the land and especially islander peoples' contribution to agriculture (including sugar cane) and to the development of our home, Australia. It also stands for our hope for the future and for our children.
The deep gold stands for the sunshine and the sand of our original island homes and that of our homeland now, Australia.
The Southern Cross reminds us of our home in the South Pacific, and as it is the badge that Australians associate with, it emphasises that we are also Australians.