30 November 2021 21:04

Should daily singing the Australian national anthem be made compulsory in schools?

Many indigenous and migrant activists feel that the lyrics do not accurately represent them and their heritage.

A recent policy proposed at a state Liberal National Party council meeting in Gladstone, Queensland, says that schoolchildren should sing the Australian national anthem, ‘Advance Australia Fair’, every day before starting class.

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Image source: Fiona Simpson, MP – Facebook.

According to local media, Fiona Simpson, MP for Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, said such a policy could help foster strong ‘national identity’.

“We must ensure our children understand how important it is as part of their national identity and then grow that as citizens.”

These LNP members have appealed to Queensland opposition to adopt this policy.

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Singing the Australian national anthem is a standard practice for most schools, usually weekly during an assembly or parade day.

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Image source: Pinky Singh – Facebook.

Former state candidate Pinky Singh said singing the national anthem at school could help foster unity among children, regardless of race or religion. 

Many indigenous and migrant activists feel that the lyrics do not accurately represent them and their heritage. 

Prominent indigenous critics have claimed that describing Australia as a ‘young nation’ overlooks the fact that Aboriginal people have lived on the continent for thousands of years.

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In 2020, indigenous team refused to sing the Australian national anthem played in the lead up to the NRL game against the Indigenous All Stars and Maori All Stars.

Cody Walker said in a post-match media interaction that he wasn’t comfortable with a version of the Australian anthem being played at the game.

“To be honest no (it shouldn’t be played) – it just brings back so many memories from what’s happened and I think everyone in Australia needs to get together and work something out. … It doesn’t represent me and my family.” 

PM Scott Morrison; Picture Source: The Australia Today
Image source: PM Scott Morrison
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Soon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the second line of the anthem had been changed from “for we are young and free” to “for we are one and free.”

“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 change was done by Proclamation made by the Governor General, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), on the Government’s advice.

The original composition of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was written by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 and was four verses long.

In 1974 ‘Advance Australia Fair’ was adopted as the Australian National Anthem, but in 1976 ‘God Save The Queen’ was reinstated.

Full lyrics of Advance Australia Fair

VERSE ONE

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.

VERSE TWO

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.

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