Greens leader Adam Bandt is being pressed for a public apology by The Royal Australian Regiment National President, Michael von Berg, after declining to stand next to the Australian flag earlier this week.
Prior to a press conference at Sydney’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices on Monday, a journalist saw a member of Mr. Bandt’s staff move the national flag away from the view of the cameras, leaving only the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
The Greens’ leader explained that the Australian flag was removed from the picture because it symbolised “llingering pain” for Indigenous people and claimed that Australia still had “a lot of work to do” in addressing racism.
A decorated Military Cross officer, Michael von Berg, issued a harsh response to Mr. Bandt accusing him of defaming the flag in his letter.
The combat hero told to SkyNews.com.au that he was surprised and angry for such a low act.
“I actually watched it live and personally, I thought, it was a mistake,” Mr von Berg said.
“When they showed just the Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait flag, I thought, ‘that’s odd’.
“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.”
Mr. von Berg called the Greens leader’s conduct a “disgrace” that needed to be publicly denounced in the letter and attacked him for the “poor and pathetic publicity stunt.”
He claimed it was disrespectful to the Australian people as well as “every” previous and present service member who served their country.
“The Australian Defence Force and those in active service have sadly lost good friends and soldiers under that flag (and) we find it offensive 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,” he added.
“He’s sensationalising, he’s generalising and it is not the view of the broader community and the broader Aboriginal or Torres Strait community,” Mr, von Berg said.