Anthem dumped from NRL's Indigenous All-Stars game

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

The Australian national anthem will not be played at the NRL Indigenous All-Stars Game, with the Australian Rugby League Commission voting to scrap the song from this year.

The ARLC held their vote during a meeting on Thursday afternoon.

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The anthem has been an ongoing controversy among Indigenous players, with several players refusing to sing the anthem prior to last year’s State of Origin fixture.

Many of Australia’s Indigenous people do not recognise ‘Advance Australia Fair’, arguing the anthem does not acknowledge the history of Indigenous people.

According to The Australian’s report, there are no plans to scrap the anthem during State of Origin.

Recently signed South Sydney star Latrell Mitchell has been a vocal supporter of the push to change the date of Australia Day, as well as the anthem.

Latrell Mitchell has been one of many Indigenous NRL players to voice their desire to drop the national anthem from this moenth's All-Star game. Picture: Instagram/iam_lm01/Latrell Mitchell

He posted on Instagram on Wednesday that his Indigenous heritage is not something easily understood by those without it.

“Being Aboriginal is not the colour of your skin or how broad your nose is,” he wrote.

“It is a spiritual feeling, an identity you know in your heart. … It is a unique feeling that is difficult for non-Aboriginal to fully understand.”

Indigenous All-Stars vocal on anthem protest

Following the All-Stars game in February 2019, South Sydney star Cody Walker was among the most vocal players speaking out about the Australian anthem.

In various interviews after that game and in the lead-up to State of Origin, Walker said the players’ decision not to sing the anthem was not part of an effort to push his views on others, but a reflection of his and many other Indigenous people’s view on the anthem.

"I’m not pushing my views on anyone, it’s just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel," he told the Sydney Morning Herald in June last year.

"I’ve already voiced my opinion, and I want to reiterate it’s just my opinion.”

Melbourne Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr was another to add his voice to the movement.

"The anthem doesn't represent us as Indigenous people ... We have to change it,” Addo-Carr said.

"We are Australians too. Indigenous people were the first people here, on the land," he said.

"I am a proud Australian man but a proud Indigenous man, too. If it’s not going to stand for my people, why should I sing it?"