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A brand new yr, a brand new nationwide anthem for Australia

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  • Australian premier makes shock announcement hours earlier than January 1
  • Australian nationwide anthem has been tweaked to be extra inclusive

On Friday, Australia didn’t solely get up to a brand new yr but additionally a brand new nationwide anthem. 

Hours earlier than January 1, 2021, Australian PM Scott Morrison introduced that the anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”, has been tweaked to recognise the nation’s Indigenous historical past and communities. 

The primary line of the anthem, “Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free,” will now finish with “one and free”. 

In an opinion piece printed within the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison wrote: “Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, but our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect.

“Within the spirit of unity, it is just proper that we additionally now acknowledge this and guarantee our nationwide anthem displays this fact and shared appreciation. Altering ‘younger and free’ to ‘one and free’ takes nothing away, however I consider it provides a lot.”

The minimalist change was approved by the governor general, David Hurley, on the recommendation of the Morrison government.

The Australian government has a history of changing the song to be more inclusive. The original 1878 composition by Peter Dodds McCormick was declared the national anthem in 1984, replacing “God Save the Queen”, after switching “sons” with gender-neutral phrasing. 

In recent years, the anthem became controversial amid growing conversation about Indigenous representation, systemic inequality and racial justice. In particular, many pushed back against the phrase “for we’re younger and free” – a nod to when Britain’s First Fleet landed in Australia in 1788. 

Australia is residence to one of many world’s oldest identified civilisations. 

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