Anthony Mundine has slammed the surprise change to the national anthem late on New Year’s Eve, arguing the change from ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’ is still unsatisfactory to Indigenous Australians.
News broke of the change to ‘Advance Australia Fair’ late on Thursday evening, with he change will take effect from Friday.
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“During the past year we have showed once again the indomitable spirit of Australians and the united effort that has always enabled us to prevail as a nation,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
“It is time to ensure this great unity is reflected more fully in our national anthem.”
It is the first time a change has been made to Australia’s national anthem since 1984, when it was changed from God Save The Queen to Advance Australia Fair.
The lyrics of the anthem have long been a sticking point for the Indigenous community, with many arguing the phrase ‘young and free’ does not properly acknowledge the thousands of years of history forged by Indigenous people, long before the arrival of the First Fleet.
— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) December 31, 2020
In a statement published by Wide World of Sports, Mundine said with tweaked lyrics or not, Advance Australia Fair would always be a ‘white supremacy song’.
"One word ain't gonna change the core meaning of a song!" Mundine said.
"It's always gonna be a white supremacy song until the whole song is rewritten!
"Still ain't good enough!"
Anthony Mundine rejects national anthem change
Mundine has long been a critic of the national anthem, however the change was welcomed by another Indigenous athlete, Cathy Freeman.
The Olympic champion took to Twitter on Thursday evening to celebrate the move, revealing the prime minister had contacted her directly about the change.
“What a way to start the year!!! A phone call from our Prime Minister to say that we are “One and Free”! Thank you!!!” Freeman posted.
In a press conference on New Year’s Day, the prime minister added Australia was the “most successful multicultural nation on earth”.
That was very special @RugbyAU historic evening in Sydney as Olivia Fox,from Newtown High School of Performing Arts,sang the Australian National Anthem in Eora language & then in English, joined by the @wallabies wearing their First Nations jersey #AUSvARG #TriNations2020 #rugby pic.twitter.com/MBJRfzMTKe
— sam mostyn (@sammostyn) December 5, 2020
“While Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country's story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect,” Mr Morrison said.
“In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we ensure our National Anthem reflects this truth and shared appreciation.
“Changing ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’ takes nothing away but... adds much.”
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