New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday that the Australian anthem should be changed to acknowledge Indigenous Australians.
The line “We are young and free” should be changed to “we are one and free” in order to recognise Australia’s 60,000 years of Indigenous history. She said.
“I think it would be appropriate for us to acknowledge that we are all united and we have a very proud, long history of Indigenous First Nations here in Australia and I think that should be reflected in our anthem.”
The Premier’s view comes after a number of Indigenous National Rugby League (NRL) players remained silent during the national anthem before last year’s State of Origin matches. Australian media reported.
This season, the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) dropped the anthem for the Indigenous All Stars game after players raised concerns “the words of the anthem do not represent them or their families”. ABC News said.
Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said he supported Ms Berejiklian’s idea to change the national anthem.
“I think her idea is a great one,” he said.
The First federal Aboriginal MP for the Greens and first Aboriginal Senator for Victoria Lydia Thorpe said on Facebook “It’s great that the NSW Premier is talking about ensuring that First People are considered in this nations identity. We will need to do more than change the national anthem, we need to change the nation.”
“Advance Australia Fair” is the national anthem of Australia. Created by the composer Peter Dodds McCormick, the song was first performed in 1878. It replaced “God Save the Queen” as the official national anthem in 1984, following a plebiscite to choose the national song in 1977.