• The 'Reconciliation Flag' design. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Thousands of Australians back changing the national flag, with an Indigenous-inspired design the second preferred option.
Tara Callinan

26 Jan 2016 - 4:34 PM  UPDATED 26 Jan 2016 - 5:49 PM

Sixty-four per cent of respondents to a Western Sydney University (WSU) poll want the national flag to change.

More than 8000 people took part in the poll that put forward six alternative flag designs.

“Three per cent of respondents identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, which is roughly in line with the percentage of Australia’s Indigenous population,” said Dr Benjamin Jones.

Dr Jones is the WSU historian conducting research into national attitudes towards the Australian flag, and he says says it’s time for change.

“Personally I think the ‘Southern Horizon’ flag would be an excellent alternative,” he said.

The Southern Horizon design, which depicts the Southern Cross and Commonwealth Star on a blue background above green and gold waves, was favoured with 31 per cent support.

The 'Reconciliation Flag' design, which features an Indigenous-style Commonwealth Star and incorporates the colours of the Aboriginal flag, came in second with 29 per cent of votes.

However, the flag - designed by ANU academic Dr John Blaxland - has already been criticised.

“The main problem with the Reconciliation Flag is its complexity. It features six different colours and a very intricate Federation Star,” said Dr Jones.

It also includes 250 small yellow dots, representing the distinct Indigenous cultures that occupy Australia.

Dr Jones said the bulk of respondents backing change wanted a flag that paid tribute to Australia’s Indigenous heritage.

“I think that it would be wonderful if an Indigenous artist could come up with a flag.”

Results of the online poll, which opened on December 26 last year, will now be used to call for a national referendum.

“There needs to be a champion in the political class who will push for a new flag referendum,” said Dr Jones.

“In New Zealand, this was due to the political will of John Key ... so Australia needs a similar Prime Minister.”

New Zealand is currently debating whether to change its national flag, with a final referendum to be held in March.