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Australia to keep Britain's Union Jack in flag: minister

SYDNEY -- Australia has no plans to change its flag, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said, adding there is little public appetite for removing the British Union Jack from the national symbol.

It follows an announcement by neighboring New Zealand — whose flag is nearly identical to Australia's — that it will hold a referendum on the issue.

Both flags feature a miniature version of the Union Jack — the national flag of former colonial power Britain — in their top-left corner, along with an array of stars.

“Believe it or not, it's not an issue that actually draws much attention in Australia,” Bishop told BBC radio late Tuesday.

“I believe we will stick with the flag. There's no great demand to change it and many Australians have fought and died under that flag, sadly.

“We have competed in Olympic Games under that flag and there's a sense of pride in it.”

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key this week pledged to hold a referendum on changing his country's flag if he wins a third term in office in September elections.

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