Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has today criticised the rainbow flag being displayed in the Department of Finance.

“There was the rainbow flag on display in the lobby which, believe it or not, some people see as an activist flag for a particular cause in relation to an issue of whether or not we should change the legislation on marriage and some people of course support that cause, others don’t,” he said.

“If that is allowed, then one imagines that the Marriage Alliance banner should be flown equally.”

The Marriage Alliance is an organisation which lobbies against legalising same-sex marriage.

“If you allow one side of the debate, then you need to allow the other side and that is why I sought to determine upfront who is responsible for making these determinations.”

Abetz, who is a prominent opponent of marriage equality, made the comments during a Senate estimates hearing.

“This particular flag, you will realise, is the flag of the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands, that declared war on Australia… and now this is their official flag,” he said.

“Of course, it is the flag of a hostile nation if we are to believe them, having declared war on Australia.”

The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Islands was established in 2004 as a symbolic protest over the Australian government’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriage.

The ‘micronation’ was established in Australia’s external overseas Territory of the Coral Sea Islands. The islands themselves are uninhabited.

Abetz later tweeted: “Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags should be flown in Govt Departments – not activist flags.”

Officials said the issue of which flags are displayed would be addressed at a future executive board meeting.

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