A single word in the Australian national anthem was changed on Friday in an effort by the state to be more inclusive of the country’s indigenous communities.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on the New Year’s Eve that the second line of the national anthem “Advance Australia Fair” will be changed from “For we are young and free” to “For we are one and free.”
“It is time to ensure this great unity is reflected more fully in our national anthem,” Scott Morrison stated. He also pointed out that Australia was “the most successful multicultural nation on Earth.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the new line in the national anthem in a tweet that also wished his countrymen a “Happy New Year.”
Happy New Year Australia, because we are one and free! 🇦🇺— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) December 31, 2020
The rationale behind the change was explained by the Prime Minister as follows: “While Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country’s story is ancient.
“In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we ensure our National Anthem reflects this truth and shared appreciation,” said Scott Morrison.
The new lyrics became effective as from Friday. This was just two months after State Premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, in solidality made in known that the anthem as it was did not reflect the history of 60,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, in support said that this change is “small in nature but significant in purpose.”
However, Professor Megan Davis, University of New South Wales law professor, criticized the change pointing out that the Indigenous people were not consulted about the change in the national anthem.
“This is a disappointing way to end 2020 and start 2021. Everything about us, without us,” she tweeted.
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