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Adam Bandt calls for ‘open discussion’ about Australia’s history after flag controversy

Australia must have an “open discussion” about its colonial history, Adam Bandt said, in response to criticism of his removal of the Australian flag during a press conference.
The Greens leader removed the Australian flag from the background of his press conference at Sydney’s Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices on Monday, saying that it represented “lingering pain” for First Nations people.

The Greens leader has been met with criticism, including from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

However, Mr Bandt told SBS News that Australia needs to confront its history of colonisation in order to move forward with an Indigenous treaty.
“One thing we can all agree on is we need to find a way to have an open discussion in this country about the violence, pain and dispossession that lies at the heart of the colonisation in this country,” Mr Bandt said.
“To understand that we are going to start telling the truth so we can have genuine reconciliation and a treaty,” he said, “There is broad agreement that this is something that needs to be part of the national discussion”.

When asked about whether he would continue to remove the flag, Mr Bandt said a national conversation was vital to moving forward.

The prime minister has opposed Mr Bandt’s position on the flag and said that he was “very proud” to stand in front of the Australian flag.
“I just say to Mr Bandt that he needs to think about the responses that have been made and reconsider his position,” Mr Albanese said to reporters in Hobart on Wednesday.

“Reconciliation is about bringing people together … It is undermined if people look for division rather than look for unity.

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The prime minister said that his priority for “constitutional change” during this term of government is “recognising the great privilege that we have of living in and sharing a continent with the oldest continuous civilisation on the planet” through an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

“The truth is Australia didn’t begin in 1788. We should be proud of the fact that our continuous culture goes back at least 65,000 years,” he said.

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