Australians woke up this morning to the news that our national anthem ‘Advance Australia Fair’ had been modified and this had been approved by our Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Well technically the official words in the anthem have not been changed, but what is termed as a new “patriotic version” of the anthem has the blessing to be played at certain public events, the meaning of which has not yet been defined.
The changes to the anthem were penned by Victorian Supreme Court judge Peter Vickery which deletes the line ‘for we are young and free’’ and inserts “”in peace and harmony” because young and free is very hurtful and offensive to indigenous Australians. I never thought that being proud of a free country would be offensive to anyone. Not even that but a third verse has been added which mentions Uluru, The Dreamtime and respect for country.
This is the first time most Australians had heard about these modifications to our national song yet Malcolm Turnbull has taken it upon himself, without any consultation to accommodate these changes albeit in an unofficial capacity. It is yet again an example of how elitist and out of touch Malcolm Turnbull is that he would think this was okay.
Advance Australia Fair has been a song since 1879. It was chosen decisively as our national anthem by a plebiscite of Australian people in 1977 and officially adopted in 1984. The national anthem has come in for criticism for various aesthetic reasons over the years but no one could really argue with its democratic mandate and hence there has been no widespread movement to have it changed.
Nobody seriously thought apart from radical leftists that the anthem was racist, especially with the lyric ‘for those who’ve come across the seas, we’ve boundless plains to share’. But the left is always looking to attack our national symbols. But it is quite shocking how easily our Prime Minister has simply rolled over and basically changed the anthem by stealth. The Federal Government owns the copyright to the anthem so it could have disallowed this change very easily.
What are these public events that this modified anthem will be allowed to be sung at? You can bet that leftist sporting bodies such as the AFL would jump at the chance to have this version of the anthem sung at their major games. Think of all the cultural events the left hold, often in the name of our government, would of course embrace this change.
The fact that we have basically gone to sleep with one anthem and woken up with another should jolt ordinary true patriotic Australians into action. Let our government know that we will not let them change our national song on a whim because the Prime Minister wants to get some brownie points with the left.
Our national song belongs to us and should not be changed without the democratic input of the people. This event is further proof that left will try any means necessary to attack our cultural symbols and devalue our traditions. This is a development that should shock us all.
The government has since backed away from the proposed change after people were rightly outraged. They have stated they do not plan to propose changes to the official national anthem and have said that the official protocol is the anthem should be treated with respect and dignity and encourages people not to make modifications when performing it. However this begs the question, why did Turnbull allow this proposed degradation of our anthem to even be considered as an unofficial alternative anthem?