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Should the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair change? Here are my thoughts.

Treble clef on Australian flag
Image: iStock

Should we change the lyrics to Australia’s national anthem Advance Australia Fair?

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk  and New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berijiklian agree that we should.

The source of contention is the word “young” in the first verse:

Australians all let us rejoice

For we are young and free

(emphasis mine)

Berijiklian argues “young” ignores thousands of years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

People like Berijiklian want the word “one” to replace it.

 

However, Herald Sun columnist and Sky News Australia presenter, Andrew Bolt blasted the proposal.

But the NSWPremier’s plan to change the words “young and free” to “one and free” is a con. The people she’s trying to please don’t want us to be “one” at all.

He argued that the people pushing these proposals want more division, not unity.

Proposals in the name of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion

Over recent years, people have debated a number of proposals in the name of righting past wrongs.

Every year in January, the date of Australia Day (January 26) is hotly debated. 26 January highlights the arrival of British explorer, Captain Arthur Philip in 1788.

Some Aboriginal people find this as a tragic day. It’s the day that signifies the start of their displacement and destruction.

Similarly, more and more Caucasian Australians have joined the chorus for change.

The push to change the date has extended to social media. The hashtag #changethedate has trended over the years. Activist group, GetUp! has called for the date to be changed to May 8.

Issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

To be honest, I find a lot of this to be fluff. It will change nothing. Not on a fundamental level, anyway.

There are a number of  issues facing Indigenous communities. These include:

  • lack of educational opportunities
  • poorer mental health outcomes
  • crime and domestic violence

 

Discrimination and alienation

More Aboriginal people are opening up with their experiences of racism. Some have gone to the media with numerous examples of alleged discrimination they’ve faced in their lives.

Earlier this year, actor, Meyne Wyatt did a passionate monologue on ABC’s Q & A. Wyatt described security being suspicious of him, taxi drivers ignoring him and cashiers serving him last in stores.

 

Wyatt also spoke of the treatment of former Sydney Swans footballer, Adam Goodes. A then – 13 year – old called Goodes an ‘ape’. His actions in response was hotly debated. Many praised his actions. However, others condemned Goodes, repeatedly pointing out the girl’s age.

 

When Aboriginal people bring up either domestic violence or racism, they are immediately howled down. They can’t win.

 

Surely, a step in the right direction is to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people speak. Let them speak about the issues affecting them and their communities.

 

I’ll say it again. None of these issues will change if our anthem does.

 

What are your thoughts? Should the lyrics of Advance Australia Fair change? Does it matter to you either way? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

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By Sara Harnetty

I'm a student. Interested in current events, music and various issues.

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