Newly-minted Indigenous MP Marion Scrymgour has lashed Federal Greens leader Adam Bandt for sidelining the Australian flag, a move she said would deepen divisions in the community.

The Greens leader on Monday caused controversy when his staffers removed the Australian flag from a press conference, leaving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in place.

Mr Bandt’s move came weeks after the incoming Federal Labor government was lauded for installing an Aboriginal flag behind parliament’s speaking podium.

Speaking to The Australian on Wednesday, Ms Scrymgour said the Greens leader’s move would jeopardise efforts to win support for an enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament.

“I know people who fought under the Australian flag and fought for our freedoms,” she said.

“We need to bring this country together.”

Ms Scrymgour, an ex-Northern Land Council leader and Territory MP, said Mr Bandt’s stance sent the wrong message about unity.

Mr Bandt defended his decision, arguing he had not stood in front of the Australian flag for years as it was a hurtful symbol to Indigenous people.
“For many Australians, this flag represents dispossession and the lingering pains of colonisation,” he said.
“Through Treaty with First Nations Peoples and by moving into a Republic, we can have a flag that represents all of us.”

Greens senator Lidia Thorpe appeared to back Mr Bandt’s move, describing the flag as an obscenity.

“The Australian flag represents a colonial invasion, which massacred and murdered thousands of Aboriginal women, men and children,” Ms Thorpe told 3AW.

“The Australian flag does not represent me, it does not represent my family and it does not represent many clans and nations around this country.”

MPs on both sides of politics have come out in recent days to criticise Mr Bandt.

Labor’s Bill Shorten described the move as virtue signaling while Liberal leader Peter Dutton said it was a publicity stunt.

Ms Scrymgour’s NT Country Liberal counterpart Jacinta Price said it was “childish” for leaders to be “virtue-signaling about who loves Aboriginal people more”.