Canberra, Australia (AP) – Australia The Prime Minister has changed a word in its national anthem to reflect what it calls the “spirit of unity” and the country’s tribal people.
On New Year’s Day, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the second line of the anthem “Advance Australia Fair” had been changed to “We are young and free” and “We are free.”
The change went into effect on Friday.
“It is time to make sure that this great unity is fully reflected in our national anthem,” he said, adding that Australia was “the most successful multicultural country on earth”.
“While Australia as a modern nation is relatively young, the story of our country is as old as the stories of the people of many first countries, and we rightly accept and respect her maid,” Morrison said.
“In a sense of unity, it is only right that our national anthem should ensure that this fact is reflected and that praise is shared.”
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt said in a statement that he had been asked about the change and expressed his support for it.
Wyatt, the first Indigenous Australian to be elected to the House under the federal parliament, said the word change was “small in nature, but important in purpose.”
“It is an acknowledgment that the Indigenous and Torres Strait Island cultures are 65,000 years old,” he said.
The change comes less than two months after New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Periglion expressed support for Indigenous Australians, saying the national anthem did not reflect them and their history.
Megan Davis, a law professor at the University of New South Wales, was criticized for failing to consult with aboriginal people about the change.
“It’s a frustrating way to end 2020 and start 2021. Everything about us, without us,” he wrote on social media.
Last month, Wallabies, Australia’s national rugby team, became the first sports team to sing the anthem in an indigenous language before the match against Argentina.
“Advance Australia Fair” was first performed in 1878 by Peter Dots McCormick. It was adopted as the national anthem in 1984.