Change the anthem, it’s the right thing to do

 

I'm with Gladys. Change the national anthem. Substituting "one" for "young" in the opening couplet of Advance Australia Fair is the right thing, and it's not a big ask. Just do it.

People wedded to the existing anthem will not lose anything by switching out a single word, but those aggrieved by the notion that Australia is young when it has a rich culture dating back tens of thousands of years stand to gain something.

It might not be the biggest of wins - there are far greater issues facing Indigenous Australians than how we sing a song - but it's a win all the same.

How very bizarre of Nationals Senator Matt Canavan to argue the change would represent "an unfortunate tarnishing of our forefathers and foremothers".

It's quite the opposite.

While Australia was federated in 1901, we are much, much older in reality, and updating the anthem shows a deeper understanding, let's call it respect, for who we are today, where we've come from, and how we hope to evolve.

A society that refuses to change is a dead society.

We don't need a costly referendum to make the switch. Prime Minister Scott Morrison can take the idea to stakeholders, including Indigenous leaders, and turn it around in a matter of months.

And remember, this is not the first time the anthem has been modified.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is advocating for the Australian National Anthem to be changed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is advocating for the Australian National Anthem to be changed. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

Advance Australia Fair was only adopted in 1984, after the controversial dumping of God Save The Queen, and those 36 years ago the word "son" was swapped for "all" to remove gender discrimination.

It was an appropriate change. So is the proposed revision.

Today we sing "Australians all let us rejoice". Tomorrow we should also be singing "for we are one and free".

Originally published as Change the anthem, it's the right thing to do


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