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Albanian surprised by Bandt’s flag attitude

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says Greens leader Adam Bandt should reflect on his decision to remove an Australian flag from behind him during a press conference.

This week, Mr. Bandt had set the Australian flag aside at a media conference, so only the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were in the camera footage.

He said the Australian flag was a hurtful symbol to First Nations people.

Albanian surprised by Bandt's flag attitude

Mr. Albanese, who said he was “very proud” to stand in front of the flag, accused Mr. Bandt of missing the point of reconciliation.

“Reconciliation is about bringing people together on the journey we must embark on… it is undermined when people seek division rather than unity,” he said.

“I’m just telling Mr. Bandt to think about the responses given and reconsider his position and role to promote unity and work towards reconciliation.”

After being elected, Mr. Albanese added the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to his media background after former Prime Minister Scott Morrison chose to display only the Australian flag.

Explaining his decision, Mr. Bandt said a nationwide approach was needed to bring about change for First Nations people.

“As we have these discussions about being a republic, while we have discussions about making a treaty with our First Nations people, it’s time to understand the history of this country and its symbols. Are very hurtful to the First Peoples of this country,” he said.

“They are calling for change, and the Greens will march with them to achieve that change.”

Greens senator and DjabWurrung, Gunnai, and Gunditjmara woman Lidia Thorpe said she “absolutely” removed the Australian flag from every appearance she made.

“The Australian flag does not represent me, my people. It represents the colonization of these countries, and it is not allowed to be here,” she told Network 10.

“There has been no consent, no treaty, so that flag does not represent me because it has connotations of invasion and dispossession, and it is associated with the mass killings of many Aboriginal women, men, and children.”

It comes days after NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet announced that his state would permanently fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbor Bridge for the seemingly extraordinary prize of $25 million.

While admitting the price seemed high, Perrottet emphasized that it was a critical project for NSW.

“This is an important project,” he says.

“I don’t want the cost to get in the way of an important decision we have made as a government, which is to fly the Aboriginal flag next to the NSW flag and the Australian flag on the bridge.”

After a stir over the price tag, he has since pledged to go through the $25 million offer “line by line” to ensure it piles up.

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