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I've been reading about the the demonstration that was talked up and actioned by the Indigenous players in the QLD-NSW game.

I kept reading about the Australian National Anthem being racist and exclusive of the first people but for the life of me plainly running the anthem in my head, I couldn't understand their appeal.I merely thought that it was a publicity stunt for whatever deep held personal shit stiring reasons like the ones we often come across from Anthony Mundine.

I then found this very good and analytical article on the issue and on the lyrics of our anthem both original and changed (as of 1984).

You know what? It changed my view completely and I do think Aboriginals have a case and I support them. I truly do. I didn't before the reading this article.

I will copy-paste below for all to read and comment.

The issue is, if there was to be a commitee formed for a potentially new anthem, would the old anthem amended to include Aboriginals be acceptable or would there have to be a completely new anthem written? In regards to the flag should it be changed or should both Anglosaxon and Aboriginal be recognised as equals and both be on the uniforms of people in the services and those representing Australia?

 

Full article: https://wwos.nine.com.au/nrl/anthony-mundine-nsw-origin-anthem-protest-cody-walker-josh-addo-carr/16b61541-169c-44bd-b7a4-d8f316f27091

The following are article extracts for discussion.

WHY COULD ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR BE CONSIDERED RACIST?

THE ANTHEM’S NAME

‘Advance Australia’ was a term used in propaganda material for the White Australia movement. Whether it was used in that context or not in the anthem, it still uses the same tainted language.

‘Fair’ is a term that means ‘beautiful’ but refers to a specific type of beauty: white beauty, that of fair complexion. It is a divisive distinction for many Aboriginal people; especially those impacted by the devastation of Australia's former assimilation policies, which between 1910 and 1970 created the Stolen Generations.

“Psychologically, you’re taught from a young age that white is pure and dark is evil. All these subconscious things you get taught,” Mundine said.

“The media always portray Aboriginal folk, dark fellas, to be inferior. There’s two justice systems. I can go on and on.

"I’m not trying to say anybody’s wrong for believing it [the anthem], I’m just trying to educate and let them see things from another perspective; especially from an Aboriginal person’s side.”

‘FOR WE ARE YOUNG AND FREE’

The concept of Australia as a young nation is only true in terms of the colonised, predominantly-white Australia. There is concrete evidence that Aboriginal people have existed in Australia for 50,000 years; other evidence suggests that they may have been here for twice that long.

Advance Australia Fair does not include any reference to Aboriginal people whatsoever. In omitting Indigenous Australians, the anthem echoes the false declaration of terra nullius: that Australia was ‘nobody’s land’ before British settlement, where in fact it was taken from its traditional owners.

The continued exclusion of Indigenous people is a shortfall in reconciliation efforts. Consider that New Zealand’s national anthem, as it is performed in public events, includes equal parts of the Maori and English languages.

The Australian flag also offers no reference to Indigenous Australians. Mundine believes that both the flag and anthem must change, given they ignore our First Peoples.

“Once you start to educate the people, we might get change. We might get a PM saying, ‘No, this is wrong,” he said.

“We’ve got to include the native people of this land, our brothers, and be one together. We’re a multi-cultural society now, but definitely the Aboriginal people have to be recognised globally.

“And the two things that are iconic for this country are the anthem and the flag. Something needs to be done, for the future and for the betterment of Australia in general.”

THE FORMER VERSIONS

Advance Australia Fair was not always as it is now. Before it became the official national anthem, it contained far more divisive material.

The themes of the original song heavily promoted the idea that Australia was a British possession, populated by expatriates and defended by force from “foreign foes”. It openly celebrated colonialism, a brutal process that dispossessed Aboriginal people of their land.

Indigenous people were not mentioned in the lyrics at all and still aren't.

The original version was four verses, written by Scottish born colonialist Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878, which went as follows:

Verse 1

Australia's sons let us rejoice,

For we are young and free;

We've golden soil and wealth for toil,

Our home is girt by sea;

Our land abounds in Nature's gifts

Of beauty rich and rare;

In hist'ry's page, let ev'ry stage

Advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing,

Advance Australia fair.

Verse 2

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,

To trace wide oceans o'er,

True British courage bore him on,

Til he landed on our shore.

Then here he raised Old England's flag,

The standard of the brave;

"With all her faults we love her still"

"Britannia rules the wave."

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

Verse 3

While other nations of the globe

Behold us from afar,

We'll rise to high renown and shine

Like our glorious southern star;

From England soil and Fatherland,

Scotia and Erin fair,

Let all combine with heart and hand

To advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

Verse 4

Should foreign foe e'er sight our coast,       

Or dare a foot to land,                             

We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore,          

To guard our native strand;               

Britannia then shall surely know,       

Though oceans roll between,                      

Her sons in fair Australia's land                

Still keep their courage green.                      

In joyful strains then let us sing     

Advance Australia fair.

The third verse was replaced in 1901, the year of Australian Federation, by what would become the second and final verse of the official anthem version:

New third verse

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,

We'll toil with hearts and hands;

To make our youthful Commonwealth,

Renowned of all the lands;

For loyal sons beyond the seas

We've boundless plains to share;

With courage let us all combine

To advance Australia fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing

Advance Australia fair.

Major changes were made to Advance Australia Fair ahead of its adoption as the official national anthem in 1984.

‘Australia’s sons let us rejoice’ became ‘Australian’s all let us rejoice’, to be inclusive of women. ‘For loyal sons beyond the seas’ became ‘For those who’ve come across the seas’, to be inclusive of all migrants.

But the song still offered no recognition to Indigenous Australians and it retained language rooted in former prejudices. To this day, it makes no reference to our First Peoples.

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  • Well researched Parra fan. Our anthem and flag are certainly mired in the " White Australia" past. It's time for all Aussies to reach compromise. I would welcome change in both if it meant we all live in more harmony.

  • We've already got this discussion going. Please move any further comments to that blog. This one is closed.

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