SOCIAL media has been buzzing with questions this morning about why the Australian flags are flying at half-mast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
@GladysB Hi Premier. Why are the flags on the Harbour Bridge at half mast today?
— Ian Markus (@ianmarkus85) June 20, 2017
Captain announces on ferry this morning:
“Just noticed the flags on the harbour bridge are at half mast, a notable person must have died”
— Tim (@Zoltuger) June 20, 2017
The answer is as a mark of mourning and respect, the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has requested the Australian National Flag be flown at half-mast all day today in respect of the passing of the President of Vanuatu.
His Excellency Womtelo Reverend Baldwin Lonsdale, 67, President of the Republic of Vanuatu, died on 17 June 2017.
President Baldwin Lonsdale was elected in September 2014, the first from Torba Province.
While president, Mr Lonsdale oversaw the vast rebuilding of parts of Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam left an estimated 75,000 people homeless in March 2015.
Vanuatu is a Pacific nation between New Caledonia and Fiji comprising of 80 islands and home to 260,000 people. It joined the Commonwealth in 1980.
The funeral will be held today in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The Prime Minister has offered condolences to the people of Vanuatu and advised that the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia will represent Australia at the funeral.
In a statement the Prime Minister says in accordance with protocol, the Australian national flag should be flown at half-mast all day on Wednesday 21 June 2017 Australia wide from all buildings and establishments occupied by Australian Government departments and affiliated agencies. Other organisations are welcome to participate.
— Cameron Diver (@Cameron_Diver) June 20, 2017
In accordance with flag protocol, all flags and ensigns at each flag station should be flown at half-mast during daylight hours.
Recently, flags on at sites such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge and Central railway station have also been flown at half-mast to commemorate the victims of the Martin Place siege, as a tribute to the late Saudi king, the death of cricketer Phillip Hughes and Remembrance Day.
Source: The Daily Telegraph