Shannen Findlay

Domestic Travel

Advance Australia Fair: Major changes to Australian anthem

Advance Australia Fair: Major changes to Australian anthem

It is over 140 years old, but for the first time, national anthem Advance Australia Fair has been rewritten to include the experiences of Indigenous Australians. 

The new lyrics were performed on the opening night of the annual Desert Song Festival in Alice Springs on Friday. 

The anthem has been tweaked by Recognition in Anthem, a group of Australians who hope the changes to the song will become official. 

Martin Haskett, who is a committee member told the ABC news the rewrite was made to “facilitate reconciliation”. 

"Our current anthem doesn't recognise Indigenous people of this country — the ambition was to create something that spoke to everyone in Australia," Mr Haskett said.

The new version will celebrate and acknowledge Aboriginals who have existed and lived in Australia for 60,000 years. 

The line “for we are young and free,” has been tweaked to “for we are one and free”. 

Mr Haskett said he wanted the new lyrics to “resonate with people”.

"That acceptance in the Aboriginal community shows that it has a future," he said.The performance comes after half of the Indigenous team refused to sing the national anthem before the start of their NRL game against the Indigenous All Stars and Maori All Stars. 

Blake Ferguson, Latrell Mitchell and skipper Cody Walker were the team members who chose to remain silent, while the song was being played. 

All six Indigenous footy players refused to sing the anthem during game two of the State of Origin this year. 

Maroon's fullback Kalyn Ponga, centre Dane Gagai, second-row Josh Papalii and centre Will Chambers didn’t sing the song in protest.

Blues centre Blake Ferguson and wing Josh Addo-Carr also followed suit.

The players’ protest comes amid claims Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker lost their spots in the NSW Blues for refusing to sing the anthem in the first game of the series. 

Aboriginal boxing champion Anthony Mundine has also chose not to stand and sing the national anthem, which he believes is for “white supremacists”.