back to top

Australia Has A New Flag And It's Sending Quite The Message

It's totally legit.

Posted on

An Australian flag with the words "BORDER FORCE" emblazoned on it has been spotted flying at Sydney Airport.

Our glorious new flag design, appropriately flying at half mast. #boundlessplainstoshare

Former Triple J radio host Lindsay "The Doctor" McDougall saw the flag flying outside a building when he went to pick his brother up from the airport on Friday morning.

"I parked and noticed right in front of me were three flags. Two were normal Australian flags, and the one in the middle has BORDER FORCE written on it in bold white type," he told BuzzFeed News.

"It was pretty weird and scary looking, especially flapping about in the wind and rain, out the front of the mysterious building. So I took heaps of photos."

@martinbarker70 sadly not. Here's all the other shots i took.

McDougall was then approached by a security guard who told him the building was for "customs".

"He said it wasn't signposted to 'avoid reprisals'. He said the flag had been there since the Border Force was started and started walking away."

Since McDougall posted the picture on Twitter, dozens of people have been questioning whether its authentic and if so, legal.

"Border Force" is the new name for the super agency combining customs and the immigration department under the ministerial power of Peter Dutton. The intimidating branding of the government agency has been criticised for more than a year.

Waiting for Scott Morrison. There's a picture of a 'border force' person and a draped easel.

On July 1, the old branding was ditched, with "customs" and "immigration" replaced with "BORDER FORCE" in airports around the country. You can even check out the process on Border Force's Instagram.

Which brings us to the issue of the new flag....

The flag is actually enshrined in commonwealth law under the Customs Act 1901. The word, "CUSTOMS" is to appear on the "blue ensign" (the national flag), like so.

So it appears with the "Border Force" re-branding passed by the parliament earlier this year, a new flag was created for the super agency.

Which means for some people visiting Australia, hopping off a plane, the "BORDER FORCE" flag could be one of the first things that greets them.

BuzzFeed News has asked Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's office for comment.

Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.