War veteran demands a public apology from the Greens over Adam Bandt flag stunt
An Australian war veteran has criticized Greens leader Adam Bandt for being paid more than $314,000 a year by taxpayers but “hate our flag”.
Michael von Berg, a recipient of the Military Cross who served as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War, said he was “very angry” after Bandt’s staff removed the flag from behind their leader before a press conference in Sydney on Monday.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Mr. von Berg that his phone “burnt out” after Bandt’s comments, which have sparked PTSD in angry and frustrated diggers.
“We are all proud to have served under the flag,” said Mr von Berg. “Many have fought for the flag and when they die they are buried under the flag. It was totally unacceptable what he did and said.
‘I think he should be expelled from parliament, yes. It’s just so hypocritical to receive a salary and benefits but hate our country and our flag. If he feels so bad about it, why is he even in parliament?
“It annoyed me personally, but my phone has been warming up ever since. People are very irritated. You have to understand that anger and resentment can cause PTSD and those kinds of comments have made a lot of people very angry. In this age of mental health problems they are not helpful at all.”
Bandt earns $314,737 as leader of a minority party with more than 10 representatives in parliament.
Michael von Berg (left), a Military Cross recipient who served as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War, reprimanded Bandt for removing the Australian flag before a press conference. Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt sparked anger after a staffer removed Australia’s flag before his Monday press conference
The war veteran’s comments come after outspoken Greens senator Lidia Thorpe – a key ally of Bandt – claimed the Australian Parliament is not allowed to be here
“For many Australians, this flag represents expropriation and the lingering pain of colonization,” Bandt said Monday.
“By making a treaty with First Nations peoples and moving to a republic, we can have a flag that represents us all.”
His comments sparked anger across the political spectrum with Mr von Berg, who served alongside Aboriginal soldiers on his first tour of Vietnam in 1966-67, accusing the leader of the Greens of insulting the nation in a scathing open letter . He also called Bandt a “damned idiot” during a conversation with Daily Mail Australia.
“I saw it live and I saw the flag drop. I was surprised at first and then I thought it was a mistake. When I saw it from the side I realized it was a stunt and I thought ‘you idiot,’ he said.
“I think he and his gang see the flag as a rag, like a piece of bunting to wave. They don’t understand how important it is to us. The flag unites us all as a servant force. We salute the flag, we offer the flag with weapons and he and the left deal with it so cheaply. It’s unforgivable.
“I served with a native corporal in Vietnam in 1966 and we lost him. That’s why Bandt’s comments are so hard to accept. I got a military cross for a four hour action on a very steep mountain, but we lost it. He was a great guy, a great soldier and it makes me emotional.
“He’s a fucking idiot. The Greens have done nothing for the indigenous people and instead they are doing this symbolism. Moving a flag and thinking that’s something. This is all he has. Division, division, division.
“This is just to raise his profile, not the problem. All everyone does is talk about him. This isn’t going to help the natives.’
In the letter to Bandt, the war hero said his actions were an affront to the nation and “every soldier and woman who has proudly served this country under our flag in war and peace.”
The veteran wrote: ‘Symbols and jokes don’t help our Indigenous and Torres Strait Island brothers and sisters, where many of us in the ADF have had the great honor of serving with, and in some cases, fighting alongside, and unfortunately to bury.’
Senator Thorpe (pictured Tuesday night) said her decision to participate in the “colonial project” was due to her ambitions to “renew the nation” and be a voice that questions.
“If your action and purpose was to divide the nation, that purpose has failed, particularly within our ADF and veteran community where the Australian national flag under which we have all proudly and bravely served is the glue that binds and defines us. †
Speak with Sky Newshe also revealed that he was watching the press conference live and was “surprised” and “very angry” at the “stunt”.
“I saw it live and personally I thought it was a mistake,” said Mr von Berg.
“When they only showed the Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait flag, I thought, ‘That’s strange’.
“Then I saw it sideways and when he came to speak I naturally thought this was a deliberate stunt. I was surprised and very angry.’
Mr von Berg’s comments come after outspoken Greens senator Lidia Thorpe – a key ally of Bandt – claimed the Australian Parliament is not allowed to be here – saying she is just a member so she can run the institution. ‘infiltrate’.
The senator said her participation in the “colonial project” was due to her ambitions to “renew the nation” and be a voice and spokesperson for First Nations people.
Senator Thorpe appeared on The Project on Tuesday and said she is also removing the Australian national flag during press conferences.
“The Australian flag does not represent me or my people,” she told the panel.
“It represents the colonization of these countries, and it has no permission to be here, there is no permission, there is no treaty, so that flag does not represent me.”
Panelist Waleed Aly asked the senator if her argument could also apply to the Australian parliament in which she sits.
“Absolutely, I’m here to infiltrate,” she replied emphatically.
“I applied to be a senator in the colonial project, and it was not an easy decision for me personally, nor was it an easy decision for my family to support me in this,” she continued.
“But we need votes like this to question the illegal occupation of the colonial system in this country.”
LETTER FROM AUSTRALIAN WAR VETERANS TO THE GREENS
Dear Mr Bandt,
Reference: THE COUNT OF THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL FLAG AS A FORM OF PROTEST AND PROVOCATIVE SYMBOLISM
On behalf of our membership and the veteran community and their families, your pitiful and pathetic publicity stunt of desecrating our Australian national flag is an outrage and deserves to be condemned.
It is an insult not only to the nation in general, but to every soldier and woman who has proudly served this country under our flag in war and peace, but also to the many who made the ultimate sacrifice and were laid to rest. with the Australian national flag draped on their coffin.
Symbols and jokes do nothing in support of our Indigenous and Torres Strait Island brothers and sisters, where many of us in the ADF have had the great honor of serving with, and in some cases fighting alongside, and sadly burying.
The members of the ADF are color blind and we have done more than many other segments of society in integrating, accepting and sometimes working together, in the most extreme and stressful circumstances based on friendship, mutual respect, digging humor and good old-fashioned Australian values.
Mr Bandt, we all make mistakes, and in this case it would not be remiss to admit that you have gone too far and apologize to the nation, but especially to those serving in the ADF and more. always serve.
To your conscience, as a servant to the crown, there appears to be some conflict and considerable hypocrisy in your actions, and disrespect for our Australian national flag, in continuing your parliamentary salary and benefits.
If your action and purpose was to divide the nation, then that purpose has failed, particularly within our ADF and veteran community where the Australian national flag under which we have all proudly and bravely served is the glue that binds and defines us.
We demand your public apology.