A decorated Vietnam war hero has demanded a public apology from the Australian Greens leader after photographs emerged of the national flag being removed before his press conference started.
National President of The Royal Australian Regiment and a Vietnam War soldier Michael von Berg wrote an open letter to Bandt and accused Adam Bandt of dishonouring the national flag.
The letter has also called for a public apology.
"I actually watched it live and personally, I thought, it was a mistake," von Berg told Sky News Australia. "When they showed just the Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait flag, I thought, 'that’s odd'."
Von Berg added: "Then I saw it off to one side and of course when he came and spoke, I thought this was a deliberate stunt. I was surprised and very angry."
The war veteran's letter roasted the Greens leader for his 'poor and pathetic publicity stunt'.
It also called Bandt's actions a 'disgrace'.
I asked Adam Bandt why he chose not to stand in front of the Australian flag. He says the country has work to do on racism, and that the symbol is hurtful to many Indigenous Australians. #auspol— Isobel Roe (@isobelroe) June 20, 2022
He also says he usually has it removed before he speaks.— Isobel Roe (@isobelroe) June 20, 2022
"The Australian Defence Force and those in active service have sadly lost good friends and soldiers under that flag (and) we find it offensive that someone who hasn’t worn a uniform or served the country or done the hard yards, dishonouring our members and the flag in such a way," von Berg said.
Speaking to Sky News Australia, von Berg said that a 'general apology is warranted because it’s not just the veteran community or serving members he has offended'.
"What he doesn’t realise [is that] when we sign on [to the Defence Force] you sign off a lot of basic human rights," he said.
"The symbol that binds us as troops, or as a battalion or squadron is the national flag."
The letter was addressed to Bandt, with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also sent a copy.
ABC journalist Isobel Roe witnessed a Bandt staffer moving the national flag to the other side of the room before a press conference at Sydney's Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices on Monday (June 20).
"Ahead of a press conference with Greens leader Adam Bandt, a Greens staffer has just moved the Australian flag out of the TV camera shot," Roe said on Twitter, alongside a picture of the moved flag.
"I asked Adam Bandt why he chose not to stand in front of the Australian flag.
"He says the country has work to do on racism, and that the symbol is hurtful to many Indigenous Australians."
She added: "He also says he usually has it removed before he speaks."
Featured Image Credit: David Hewison/Alamy Stock Photo. Isobel Roe/Twitter.
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