Australians want their national anthem changed
Recently, Gladys Berejiklian, the leader of Australia’s most populous state, spoke out against the anthem, saying the line ‘we are young and free’ dismisses centuries of indigenous history.
- The leader of Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, has urged the country to change its national anthem.
- ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was written in 1878 but became the official national anthem only in 1984.
- Most of the criticism regarding the national has been directed towards the second line that reads “for we are young and free”.
- Critics say these words obliterate more than 50,000 years of indigenous history and indicate historical revisionism by attempting to claim that Australia’s history starts with colonisation.
For years, several prominent Australians have tried to bring attention to the lyrics and the need to change them for the sake of inclusion, diversity and representation. In 2015, Deborah Cheetham, Aboriginal Australian soprano and Associate Dean, Music, University of Melbourne, had written a blog post explaining how she had been asked to perform the national anthem at the Advance Australia Fair that year, and had requested to replace the words “for we are young and free” with “in peace and harmony”. The request was denied by the organisers.