The Department of Finance has no protocols about political flags being set in their foyer despite the current rainbow flag being prominently displayed, a Senate Estimates hearing has heard.

Senator Abetz quizzed departmental officials how the flag came to be there, with officials admitting there was no protocol and that such a decision was a matter for the Executive Board. However, officials could not recall discussing the issue.

"To cut to the chase, 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.”

"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."

Departmental officials said the issue would be raised at a future meeting of the department's executive board.

Senator Abetz also asked for a copy of the minutes of the meeting in which the board decided to fly the flag.