“To honor indigenous people, the Australian government amends National Anthem,” says The Prime Minister.
According to the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison, the country brought in the New Year in a different way by tweaking their National Anthem ‘Advance Australia Fair’ in order to recognize the nation’s indigenous communities and history. The change in the anthem took effect on January 1, 2021.
Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia before British colonization. They include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia. The term Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, or the person’s specific cultural group (their mob), is often preferred, though the terms First Nations of Australia, First Peoples of Australia, and First Australians are also increasingly common.
The first line of the anthem, “Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free”, will now be ending with “one and free” to honor indigenous people. The change in the anthem reflects the spirit of unity and Australia’s Indigenous population. The National Anthem ‘Australia Fair’ was composed by Peter Dodds McCormick. It was first performed in 1878 and was later adopted as the National Anthem in 1984.
According to the Prime Minister, it is time to ensure that the great unity in the country is reflected more fully in the National Anthem as Australia was the most successful multicultural nation in the world.
He added that Australia as a modern nation may be young but its story is ancient, as are the stories of many First Nations Peoples whose stewardship we respect and acknowledge. He added that in the spirit of unity, it is rightful that the national anthem of Australia represents this truth and appreciation.
Ken Wyatt, the Minister of the Indigenous Australians informed that he had been asked and consulted about the change in the anthem and he had decided to give his complete support.
The first indigenous Australian who was elected to the federal Parliaments lower house added that the one-word change was small in nature but has greater significance. He mentioned that the change is an admission of the fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures go back to 65,000 years.
The change in the anthem came less than two months after Gladys Berejiklian, New South Wales State Premier, extended support for the indigenous people of Australia about the change in the anthem. She mentioned that this a disappointing way to end 2020 and to start in 2021. She further added ‘Everything about us, without us’.