Republican hope over Union Jack

TASMANIAN republican supporters hope debate in New Zealand over scrapping the Union Jack from the national flag will spark similar discussions here. 

In the same week as the appointment of Peter Cosgrove as Governor-General, New Zealand's Governor-General,  Sir Jerry Mateparae, said he supported debate on a flag change.

This followed Prime Minister John Key's call for the silver fern to be adopted as the New Zealand national flag.  

Convenor of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Republican Movement Angela Wilson said it was pleasing to see our neighbours talk about national identity.

While the movement doesn't want to get bogged down in discussions about flag changes, Ms Wilson said it was a good first step.

``It's a catalyst to thinking about our own identity as a country,'' Ms Wilson said.

She said that comments from former Governor-General Quentin Bryce about one day having a head of state, combined with debate over when Australia Day should be, as well as the appointment of  the new Governor-General, made it a good time to think about our  national identity.

``What image do we want to project to the world?'' Ms Wilson asked.

She  said her organisation did not have a republic model set up, and   the first step to  becoming a republic would be a plebiscite.

The republican movement in Tasmania has a state council of  10  and wants to create a presence in the North.

Australia held a referendum on the issue in 1999 in which 40 per cent of Tasmanians agreed with becoming a republic.

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