New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has joined calls for a change to the lyrics of Australia’s national anthem, ‘Advance Australia Fair’.
Berejiklian said she supported the line, “We are young and free”, being changed to, “We are one and free” to acknowledge the nation’s 60,000 years of Indigenous history.
“I feel for Indigenous Australians who don’t feel the national anthem reflects them and their history,” she told ABC on Wednesday.
“And I think if we say, ‘We’re one and free’, it acknowledges that we’re not really young as a continent. We’re tens of thousands of years old when it comes to human inhabitants.”
This wouldn’t be the first time the anthem’s lyrics have been changed. The first line, ‘Australians all let us rejoice’, was originally, ‘Australian’s sons let us rejoice’.
In an interview with Channel 7′s ‘Sunrise’, Berejiklian said the change would be a “small and symbolic” gesture in acknowledging Australia’s First Nations people, but that “every step matters, respect and dignity matters a lot and goes a long way”.
The premier’s comments come during NAIDOC Week, which celebrates the history and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Last year several high-profile Indigenous rugby league players refused to sing the national anthem at State of Origin matches.
This year the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) dropped the anthem for the Indigenous All Stars game. But the anthem is still part of other matches.
A few players appeared to not sing it last Wednesday night during the 2020 State of Origin series opener, reported SBS. Berejiklian made her comments this week on the morning of the second State of Origin match.
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