Greens leader Adam Bandt has sparked controversy after he refused to stand in front of the Australian flag in a press conference on Monday.
The flag was pushed off to the side by a member of the Greens leader’s staff so it was out of the TV camera shot ahead of the press conference.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags remained and could be seen behind him as he was speaking to the cameras.
“For many Australians, this flag represents dispossession and the lingering pains of colonisation,” he said.
“Through Treaty with First Nations’ Peoples and by moving to a Republic, we can have a flag that represents all of us.”
The politician’s press conference was being used to talk about Labor’s approach to emissions.
“Labor is bringing a weak target to parliament that means the end of the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
“Labor is now an obstacle to greater climate action and they are refusing to listen to the will of the people who have just delivered a big mandate for climate mandates at the election.”
Bu the removal of the flag was the main headline to come from the press conference and has been labelled as virtue signalling.
Indigenous leader Warren Mundine called it “idiotic” and criticised the Greens.
“Are the Greens actually in the Australian federal parliament? Seriously? Do they actually hate Australians that much? Aboriginals call themselves Australians all the time,” he said.
“The Greens are just a fringe university type group trying to run down the country.”
Minister for Government Services Bill Shorten called Brandt and his move counterproductive.
“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.
“It turns more people off than turns them on.
“He’s counterproductive to the cause. At the end of the day, Australians want us to try and work together.”
Bandt had already made headlines last week from calling the energy crisis a failure of privatisation, saying the government “wrote the rules to suit big corporations”.