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    Gladys Berejiklian wants the national anthem lyrics changed out of respect to indigenous Australians

    Gladys Berejiklian says the national anthem SHOULD be changed as a sign of respect for indigenous Australians

    • The Recognition in Anthem Project wants to change Advance Australia Fair 
    • They want the lyrics altered to make it more inclusive to Indigenous Australians  
    • NRL backflipped on a vow to scrap the song before Wednesday’s State of Origin
    • The NSW Premier said it would make a ‘such a difference’ to change one word
    • She said changing the lyrics would acknowledge our ‘proud Indigenous history’ 

    The New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) wants to see a national conversation around changing the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair

    The New South Wales Premier has called for a national conversation around changing the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair. 

    A campaign is gaining momentum to scrap the national anthem as the State of Origin heads into round two on Wednesday night. 

    The Recognition in Anthem Project wants the lyrics in the first verse changed from ‘we are young and free’ to ‘we are one and free’. 

    Gladys Berejiklian said the national anthem should be changed as a sign of respect for indigenous Australians.

    ‘I love our national anthem. I get goose bumps every time I hear it sung or played, but think one word change will make such a difference,’ Ms Berejiklian told the Daily Telegraph.

    She said the change would ‘acknowledge our proud Indigenous history’.

    ‘We’re all Australian and we all need to come together, no matter our background and heritage, that’s what makes Australia and NSW what it is,’ she said.

    The premier recalled singing the national anthem when she was a little girl at school.

    But she said back then they would sing ‘Australia’s sons let us rejoice’ instead of ‘Australians all let us rejoice.’

    The Blues stand and sing the national anthem before game one of the 2020 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Adelaide Oval

    The Blues stand and sing the national anthem before game one of the 2020 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Adelaide Oval

    Ms Berejiklian acknowledged a minor change could make a big difference for the Indigenous community.

    ‘I’m so proud of our first nations people and our Indigenous players – I don’t want them to feel they aren’t included. Dignity and respect goes a long way,’ she said.

    She pointed to Armenian heritage and acknowledged how difficult it was to feel injustice.

    Blues players Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Cody Walker refused to sing the anthem during Round One of last year’s State of Origin.

    They were joined in another boycott last Wednesday by Maroon outside back Dane Gagai.

    The premier said a national conversation should be held inviting the Indigneous community to have their say.  

    The NRL was left red-faced after backflipping on a decision to scrap the anthem at game one of State of Origin in Adelaide last Wednesday.

    The decision was spurred by public backlash including from Prime Minister Scott Morrison

    Ben Fordham (pictured) has thrown his support behind the Recognition in Anthem Project that want to alter Advance Australia Fair to be more inclusive

    Ben Fordham (pictured) has thrown his support behind the Recognition in Anthem Project that want to alter Advance Australia Fair to be more inclusive 

    The Australian national anthem was adopted in 1984 through a referendum and was previously 'God Save the Queen' (pictured: a group enjoying Australia Day celebrations)

    The Australian national anthem was adopted in 1984 through a referendum and was previously ‘God Save the Queen’ (pictured: a group enjoying Australia Day celebrations) 

    But some commentators, including 2GB’s Ben Fordham agreed with the recommendation to alter the lyrics. 

    ‘This is a step we can and should take and I think the time is now,’ Fordham said.

    ‘I’m going to change starting tonight and I invite anyone else to join me.’

    ‘When the national anthem plays before the Origin I will be singing it loud and proud, but in that opening verse I’ll be singing ‘Australians all let us rejoice for we are one and free.” 

    National sporting events have typically been at the forefront of debate around changing the national anthem.  

    Earlier this year in February at the Indigenous All-Stars NRL game between Australia and New Zealand – the national anthems were scrapped in favour of traditional dances. 

    The national anthem was scrapped from the Indigenous All-Stars NRL game in February 2020 in favour of traditional dances (pictured)

     The national anthem was scrapped from the Indigenous All-Stars NRL game in February 2020 in favour of traditional dances (pictured) 

    Indigenous All-Stars player Latrell Mitchell (centre) was reportedly behind the national anthem not being sung before the All-Stars game

    Indigenous All-Stars player Latrell Mitchell (centre) was reportedly behind the national anthem not being sung before the All-Stars game 

    Star Latrell Mitchell was reportedly a driving force behind the anthem being conspicuously absent – with the 23-year-old refusing to take part in singing the song before the previous year’s event. 

    Social media was impressed with the ceremonial dances and lit up with comments praising the move. 

    ‘The emotion was absolutely spectacular,’ one person said. 

    ‘This beats any anthems hands down,’ another added.  

    However, Advance Australia Fair is also held fondly by vast amount of the population with calls to scrap the song entirely met with consistent outcry. 

    On Saturday, a rendition of the anthem by African immigrant David Nduwimana before the Bledisloe Cup rugby match in Sydney was widely praised. 

    ‘How awesome to see all our Wallabies signing along with the national anthem,’ one person wrote. 

    ‘Can this man always sing the anthem please,’ another added. 

    Mr Nduwimana fled from the African country of Burundi about seven years ago ahead of a military coup. 

    He arrived with nothing but an economics degree and a guitar and made s life for himself in Australia. 

    African immigrant David Nduwimana (pictured) sang Advance Australia Fair at the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday

    African immigrant David Nduwimana (pictured) sang Advance Australia Fair at the Bledisloe Cup on Saturday

    THE ALTERED AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL ANTHEM 

    Advance Australia Fair was written by Scottish born Peter Dodds McCormick in 1878 and adopted as the national anthem by referendum in 1984. 

    Before this the Australian national anthem was ‘God Save the Queen’. 

    The Recognition in Anthem Project is a non-profit organisation that wants to alter Advance Australia Fair to be more inclusive and recognise the country’s Indigenous heritage. 

     

    Verse 1  (one word changed)

    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 2 (entirely new)

    For sixty thousand years and more

    First peoples of this land

    Sustained by Country, Dreaming told

    By song and artist’s hand.

    Unite our cultures from afar

    In peace with those first here

    To walk together on this soil

    Respect for all grows there.

    From everywhere on Earth we sing, Advance Australia Fair. 

     

    Verse 3 (entirely new)

    In times of drought and flood and fire

    When all but hope is gone

    Australians join with helping hands

    And wattle blooms again.

    Tomorrow may this timeless land

    Be for our young to share

    From red-rock heart to sun-filled shore

    Our country free and fair.

    Beneath the Southern Cross we sing, Advance Australia Fair. 

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