IN TATTERS: This tattered Australian flag has been flying at Ballina hospital, a State Government institution.
IN TATTERS: This tattered Australian flag has been flying at Ballina hospital, a State Government institution.

Hospital flies tattered flag

IS Australia a country that is in tatters?


The Australian flag which has been flying on the flagpole at the entrance to the Ballina District Hospital would suggest it is.


The flag, which is flying at the State Government institution, is in such bad repair that one of the stars on the Southern Cross constellation is missing, and only half of another is showing.


The newly elected president of the Ballina RSL Sub-Branch, Max Lewis, wasn’t too impressed after learning of the tattered flag.


“It’s better to have none up than a tattered one,” he said.


“It’s our national flag, and to have anything missing, that’s defacing the flag and what it stands for.


“Whoever puts it up can’t be taking too much notice. They should replace it.”


There are lots of protocols that go with flying the national flag.


And one of them, listed on the Australian Government’s website, is that the ‘the flag should never be flown if it is damaged, faded or dilapidated’.


The North Coast Area Health Service can’t use cost-cutting as an excuse for not replacing the flag, because it’s free.


A spokesperson for the Federal Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, confirmed that getting a replacement is as easy as walking into Ms Page’s office, just as other organisations do.


There also are protocols on the disposal of old, tattered flags.


“When the material of a flag deteriorates, it should be destroyed privately and in a dignified way. ie: it may be cut into small unrecognisable pieces, then disposed of with the normal rubbish collection,” the Australian Government website states.


The Aboriginal flag at the hospital also is showing signs of wear.


A spokesperson for the North Coast Area Health Service said hospital staff were now aware of the poor condition of the national flag and the Aboriginal flag and were in the process of replacing both.


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