Surge in poles: Tony Abbott's flag count hits a new high


Tony Abbott’s announcement that Australia will send more troops to Iraq was made in front of no fewer than eight flags, bringing the flag-count-in-announcement index to an all-time high.

This follows a six-flag announcement only last week, prompting social media discussion, jokes, and comparisons to the number of flags used by other world leaders.

Here, I’ve collated the number of flags in backdrops to prime ministerial announcements posted to Tony Abbott’s YouTube channel, with the addition of his election night acceptance speech and the recent six and eight flag announcements:

After starting on a high of four flags at his election victory speech, the average flags per announcement (excluding the recent additions) is 1.5.

The four flagger has been used sparingly – once for an announcement after his first 100 days in parliament, and then it wasn’t seen again until an announcement about the economy in July 2014.

Some people* have hypothesised that the number of flags in a political announcement can be directly correlated with the importance of the announcement, bringing into being a new political rating system: flagginess.

The appearance of the six– and eight–flag backdrops marks a significant increase in flagginess, and if the trend continues we may well see a 10-flagger before the end of the year.

The increase has prompted comparisons to the US:

— Danny Russell (@nonshedders)
March 3, 2015

@gabriellechan Ah Ha!

And various jokes:

— The Shovel (@The_Shovel_)
February 23, 2015

Here’s a wide angle shot of Tony Abbott’s national security speech today #auspol

— Matt Cowgill (@MattCowgill)
March 3, 2015

At the current rate of growth, we’ll need 3234 flags at each Prime Ministerial announcement by 2050

— James Jeffrey (@James_Jeffrey)
March 3, 2015

They’ll eventually run out of flags, so here’s an idea for future press conferences

*Yes, ok, by some people I mean me**.

**No, I don’t really believe you can measure the importance of political announcements by the number of flags.

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