War veteran demands public apology from Greens for Adam Bandt flag strike
An Australian war veteran has blasted Greens leader Adam Bandt for being paid more than $314,000 a year by taxpayers but “hating our flag”.
Michael von Berg, a Military Cross recipient who served as a combat soldier in the Vietnam War, said he was “very angry” after Bandt staff pulled the flag behind his leader ahead of a conference of press in Sydney on Monday.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Mr von Berg said his phone was “heating” after Bandt’s comments, which triggered PTSD in angry and frustrated diggers.
“We are all proud to have served under the flag,” Mr von Berg said. “Many 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 kicked out of parliament, yes. It’s so hypocritical to get pay 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 heating up ever since. People are very, very upset. You have to understand that anger and resentment can trigger PTSD and comments like that have made a lot of people very angry In this time of mental health struggles, they are of no use.
Bandt will earn $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, criticized Bandt for removing the Australian flag before a press conference. Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt sparked fury after a member of his team removed the Australian flag ahead of his press conference on Monday
The war veteran’s comments come after outspoken Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe – a key Bandt ally – claimed Australia’s Parliament was not allowed to be here
“For many Australians, this flag represents dispossession and the lingering pains of colonization,” Bandt said on Monday.
“Through a treaty with the First Nations peoples and transitioning to a Republic, we can have a flag that represents us all.”
His comments sparked fury across the political spectrum with Mr von Berg, who served alongside Aboriginal soldiers on his first tour of Vietnam in 1966-67, accusing the Greens leader of insulting the nation in a scathing open letter. He also called Bandt a “bloody idiot” in a chat with Daily Mail Australia.
“I watched it live and saw the missing flag. First I was surprised, then I thought it was a mistake. When I saw it from the side I realized it was a stunt and thought ‘stupid’,” he said.
“I think he and his crowd see the flag as a rag, as just a piece of banner to wave. They don’t understand how important it is to us. The flag unites us all as a service force. We salute the flag, we present arms to the flag and he and the left treat him so cheaply. It is unforgivable.
“I served with a native corporal in Vietnam in 1966 and we lost him. This is why Bandt’s comments are so hard to accept. I received 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 that makes me emotional.
‘He’s a fucking idiot. The Greens have done nothing for the indigenous peoples and instead they are making this symbolic gesture. Move a flag and think it’s something. That’s all he has. Divide, divide, divide.
“It’s just to raise his profile, not the problem.” Everyone just talks about him. It’s not going to help the natives.
In the letter to Bandt, the war hero said his actions were an insult to the nation and “every serviceman and woman who has proudly served this country under our flag in times of war and peace.”
The veteran wrote: ‘Symbols and pranks do nothing to support our native and Torres Strait Island brothers and sisters, where many of us in the ADF have had the great honor to serve with, and in some cases to fight alongside, and unfortunately burial.’
Senator Thorpe (pictured on Tuesday evening) said her decision to enter the ‘colonial project’ was due to her aspirations to ‘renew the nation’ and be a questioning voice
“If your action and your aim was to divide the nation, that aim has failed, particularly within our ADF and veterans community where the Australian national flag under which we have all proudly and courageously served, is the glue that binds us together. binds and defines us. ‘
Talk to Sky Newshe also revealed that he was watching the press conference live and was “surprised” and “very angry” at the “stunt”.
“I actually watched it live and personally thought it was a mistake,” von Berg said.
“When they only showed the Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait flag, I thought ‘that’s weird’.
“Then I saw him from the side and of course when he came and spoke I thought it was a deliberate stunt. I was surprised and very angry.
Mr von Berg’s comments come after outspoken Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe – a key Bandt ally – claimed the Australian Parliament had no permission to be here – and said she would not was only a member to be able to “infiltrate” the institution.
The senator said her entry into the “colonial project” was due to her aspirations to “renew the nation” and to be a voice and spokesperson for First Nations people.
Appearing on The Project on Tuesday, Senator Thorpe said she also removes the Australian national flag at press conferences.
“The Australian flag does not represent me or my people,” she told the panel.
“It represents the settlement of these lands, and it doesn’t have permission to be here, there was no consent, there was no treaty, so this flag doesn’t 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 registered to become a senator in the colonial project, and it was not an easy decision for me personally, and it was also not an easy decision for my family to support me in this project”, a- she continued.
“However, we need voices like this to challenge the illegitimate occupation of the colonial system in this country.”
AUSTRALIAN VETERANS LETTER TO THE GREENS
Dear Mr Bandt,
Reference: THE DISHONOR OF THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL FLAG AS A FORM OF PROTEST AND PROVOCATIVE SYMBOLISM
On behalf of our members, the veteran community and their families, your pathetic and poor publicity stunt to dishonor our Australian national flag is a disgrace and deserves condemnation.
Not only is this an insult to the nation as a whole, but to all servicemen and women who have proudly served this country under our flag in times of war and peace, but also to the many who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and are rested with the Australian national flag. draped over their coffin.
Symbols and pranks do nothing to support 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, of to fight alongside, and unfortunately to bury.
ADF members are color blind and we have done more than many other segments of society in being inclusive, accepting and working together at times, in the most extreme and stressful circumstances based on camaraderie, mutual respect, digger humor and good old-fashioned Aussie values.
Mr. Bandt, we all make mistakes, and if so, it would not be remiss to admit that you have gone too far and apologize to the nation, but especially to those who served and still serve in the ADF.
To your conscience, as a servant of the crown, there appears to be a certain conflict and considerable hypocrisy in your actions, and disrespect for our Australian national flag, in continuing to receive your parliamentary salary and benefits.
If your action and your aim was to divide the nation, that aim has failed, particularly within our ADF and the veterans community where the Australian national flag under which we have all proudly and courageously served, is the glue that binds us and defines us.
We demand your public apology.