As Senator Larissa Waters fought back tears, a rainbow scarf behind her brightened the day.
Senator Waters gravely announced on Tuesday “with great sadness that I’ve discovered I’m a dual citizen”.
She meant no offence to the good people of Canada, of which she’s surprisingly remained a citizen ever since leaving the country of her birth 39 years ago at the age of 11 months.
But the fact she’s a dual citizen means she has to quit her seat in the Senate, a week after fellow Greens deputy leader Scott Ludlam stood down after realising he was half a New Zealander.
“I should have actively renounced Canadian citizenship,” she said.
While she tearfully apologised to the party and the people of Queensland and lamented giving up a job she loved, Jonathan Sri stood stoically and colourfully behind her.
With his rainbow scarf draped around his neck, Mr Sri gave her a hug and attracted much attention on social media after his starring role in Senator Waters’ televised press conference, including from a Twitter user called A Busy Dad who asked “who’s the scarf idiot?”
He’s a first time Greens Brisbane City councillor who gave his maiden speech as a poem and admits the scarf is actually his partner’s.
“Sometimes I borrow her clothes and now it’s more mine,” he told Fairfax Media.
“Too many politicians dress in drab clothes. It’s nice to have some colour.”
He became such a social media hit, Matt Dennien tweeted: “The whole internet is talking about Rainbow Scarf Man”, while Beverley Wang stood in Twitter solidarity with Mr Sri, declaring “today we are all rainbow scarf man”.
After Senator Waters invited him to speak, Mr Sri lauded her contribution to Queensland and used language as colourful as his neckware to express his disappointment.
“For me personally, that really sucks that we’re losing that,” he told his first nationally broadcast press conference.