In a simple but powerful move, Advance Australia Fair will be changed for the first time in 36 years. Just one word will change, but the meaning will be great.
In a simple but powerful move, Advance Australia Fair will be changed for the first time in 36 years. Just one word will change, but the meaning will be great.

Historic change to Australia’s national anthem

A historic change will be made to the opening lines of Australia's national anthem taking effect from today, in a move recognising 60,000 years of indigenous history.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will on Friday announce a simple change to the second line of Advance Australia Fair to be "we are one and free", instead of "young and free".

It will be the first change to Advance Australia Fair's lyrics since 1984, the same year it became the national anthem under the Hawke Government.

The surprise move is intended to acknowledge Australia's First Nations people, with the word "young" neglecting the country's ancient Aboriginal heritage.

Mr Morrison said making the change had been on his mind "for a year or so", but he felt the time was right now.

"We have as a nation just come through a difficult year and this is a way of recognising the unity of Australians," Mr Morrison said.

"Changing 'young and free' to 'one and free' takes nothing away, but I believe it adds much."

The move will be made by proclamation by the governor-general, in the same way the Hawke Government formally made the song Australia's anthem in 1984.

"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," Mr Morrison said.

"It is time to ensure this great unity is reflected more fully in our national anthem.

"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."

The Prime Minister said that removing the word "young" was important for indigenous people - and that he felt most Australians accepted that.

"This is an organic, natural change that I think is in synch with the national mood," he said.

"'One and free' is and must be the story of every Australian and it's the way we truly Advance Australia Fair," he said.

There had been growing calls for the change, which had seen NRL stars boycotting or choosing not to sing along with the anthem.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian voiced her support for the change in November, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at that time said it was not a bad idea.

The nation's premiers and chief ministers received letters advising them of the change on Thursday, but there were some informal discussions prior to that.

Also consulted were the Federal Cabinet and Governor-General David Hurley, who has advised the state governors.

Changes were last made to Advance Australia Fair in 1984 when it official became the national anthem under Bob Hawke’s government.
Changes were last made to Advance Australia Fair in 1984 when it official became the national anthem under Bob Hawke’s government.

One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson said in November that she had no problem changing the word to 'one', "if that will unite our nation".

Advance Australia Fair was created by Scottish-born composer Peter Dodds McCormick and first performed in 1878.

It replaced God Save the Queen as the national anthem in 1984, when several lyrics were changed.

The changes included "Australia's son's, let us rejoice" to "Australians all", "to make our youthful Commonwealth" to "to make this Commonwealth of ours", as well as "for loyal sons beyond the seas" to "for those who've come across the seas".

 

 

NEW AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

Australians all let us rejoice,

For we are one 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 history's page, let every stage Advance Australia Fair.

In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross We'll toil with hearts and hands;

To make this Commonwealth of ours Renowned of all the lands;

For those who've come across 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Historic change to Australia's national anthem


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