The Media Is Freaking Out Over Adam Bandt Removing The Australian Flag From His Presser
One Liberal MP called him a "national disgrace".
Greens Leader Adam Bandt has caused an absolute media circus this week after moving the Australian flag out of the background of one of his press conferences.
This isn’t new. In fact, Bandt has largely avoided giving press conferences in front of the Australian flag since he became leader of the party in 2020. Usually opting for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags — both national flags of Australia — instead.
But after Labor’s recent decision to include these two flags alongside the Australian flag in press conferences, the media seems to have picked up on the flag’s absence in Bandt’s pressers.
Bandt very quickly explained his reasoning for doing this — because the flag represents a lot of hurtful moments in history and isn’t all that uniting of a symbol.
“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do in this country,” Bandt told a press conference when asked about his decision to remove the Australian flag from the line-up. “It’s time to understand that the history of this country and the symbols that represent this history of this country are very hurtful to First Nations people.”
Despite the fact that this isn’t even a new move from Bandt, politicians and media folk have had an absolute field day with this and have very quickly dragged him to hell.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters that he was “surprised” by Bandt’s actions and said anyone in Parliament should be proud of the flag.
“I’m always very proud to stand in front of the Australian flag and I think anyone who is a member of the Australian Parliament should do so as well,” the Prime Minister said. “Reconciliation is about bringing people together… It is undermined if people look for division rather than look for unity.
“I just say to Mr Bandt that he needs to think about the responses that have been made and reconsider his position … to promote unity and work to promote reconciliation.”
Opposition leader Peter Dutton — who still won’t give a press conference in front of either of the other two national flags — also called it out. “It’s all about him. I don’t think it’s about Indigenous issues. I think it’s all about a publicity stunt and we shouldn’t give him it,” he told Ben Fordham.
Bill Shorten called it divisive and accused Bandt of “virtue signalling”. “Antics like this, this virtue signalling saying, ‘I love First Nations People more than anyone else’, is like the crunchy pupper of Australian politics,” he said.
Meanwhile, Liberal MP Phillip Thompson rationally called him a “national disgrace”, while former Senator Amanda Stoker asserted “Australians deserve much better than that”.
The media — as always — had a lot to say. Sky News host Chris Kenny asserted that Bandt shouldn’t be paid by taxpayers if he won’t stand in front of the flag.
“This bloke, elected by Australian voters, paid by Australian taxpayers, sitting in the Australian parliament, well he doesn’t think much of Australia or its flag,” said Kenny. “Sticking our national flag in the corner, shaming our nation, like Adam Bandt, that’s not on.”
Paul Murray — also of Sky News fame — accused him of “hating Australia”.
“They hate the symbols, but they’ll take the money,” he said, asserting this election had given “greater power to some of the dumbest people”.
2GB Radio host Ben Fordham didn’t address Bandt, specifically, but called out Lidia Thorpe for her The Project comments on the situation.
“Your extremist approach does nothing to help ‘your people’ as you like to call them,” said Fordham. “Your campaign of hate is out of place.”
The Herald Sun reasonably called it “giving a middle finger” to Australians.
And we simply cannot forget The Project’s coverage of the topic, in which Waleed Aly accused Senator Lidia Thorpe of ceding sovereignty by entering politics.
Greens leader Adam Bandt has ignited a fierce debate by refusing to be seen with the Australian flag. Is it a national disgrace or an act of solidarity? Greens @SenatorThorpe explains.#TheProjectTV pic.twitter.com/2gzyzGIwQp
— The Project (@theprojecttv) June 21, 2022