FORMER Ballarat MHR Michael Ronaldson has criticised a campaign to fly the Eureka Flag above Canberra's Parliament House for the 150th anniversary of the event.
Mr Ronaldson slammed Ballarat MHR Catherine King for turning the campaign into a "political issue".
Ms King put a proposal before the House of Representatives to have the flag recognised under the Flags Act so it could fly above Parliament House for the 150th anniversary of the Eureka uprising next year.
During her address to parliament this week, the proposal was mocked and jeered at by at least three government MPs, including Employment Services Minister Mal Brough.
"By making it a party political issue Catherine has destroyed any chance of bipartisan support that was going to be required to bring this off," Mr Ronaldson said.
He said that he campaigned to fly the flag at Canberra's Parliament House a few years ago.
He took a lower profile and "apolitical approach" back then, Mr Ronaldson said.
By bringing it before Parliament Ms King was making it a political issue, he said.
Mr Ronaldson said another obstacle to the campaign was a union's use of the Eureka flag as a banner for its cause.
Ms King should focus her energy on calling for left wing unions to stop using the flag in this way, he said.
"To me the flag stands for the people of Ballarat at that time and translates further afield where a fair go and a sense of decency was being fought for," Mr Ronaldson said.
"It is now being used as representing a philosophy of left wing Australian politics and I think that's an absolute tragedy."
Ballarat Trades Hall secretary Graeme Shearer disagreed that the union had "hijacked the flag."
"I don't think the flag belongs to any one group in the community," he said.
"It's a banner that represents a significant historical event."
He said the union movement identified with the "flag of struggle" and had helped make it a prominent symbol of Eureka by flying it regularly at its events.
He also congratulated Ms King on her campaign.
"I commend what she's doing," he said.
"She's standing up for something she strongly believes in."