World News – AU – « We are one and free »: Australia’s national anthem is set to change to recognize indigenous history


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Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on New Years Eve that the minor change will help promote a « spirit of unity » after a challenge in 2020

The Australian government will remove a reference in the national anthem that the country is « young and free » as the existing wording overlooks the history of the Aborigines and islanders of Torres Strait, which goes back tens of thousands of years.

Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison made a surprise announcement on New Year’s Eve, saying the change would help foster a « spirit of unity » after a year of great challenges.

From the 1st. On January 1st, the second line of the Advance Australia Fair reads: “We are one and free. This replaces the existing line: “Because we are young and free. ”

The minimalist change was approved by Governor General David Hurley on a recommendation from the Morrison government.

It picks up on an idea that New South Wales’ Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian had launched earlier this year. He said the current wording ignored Australia’s « proud First Nations culture » and some people felt left out.

Berejiklian’s proposal to change the wording to « one and free » found support from across the political spectrum, including the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, and even the right-wing One Nation party leader Pauline Hanson.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese also backed the proposal, saying the country « should be proud of the fact that here we have the oldest contiguous civilization on the planet with the First Nations people ». .

In a statement released Thursday night, Morrison said the change would be effective Jan.. January effective and will be made « for all Australians ». .

« Last year we again demonstrated the indomitable spirit of the Australians and the combined efforts that have always enabled us to assert ourselves as a nation, » said the Prime Minister.

“It is time to make sure that this great unity is better reflected in our national anthem. ”

Morrison said that while Australia « may be relatively young as a modern nation, » the country’s history was ancient. He quoted « the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose responsibilities we rightly recognize and respect ». .

« In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we ensure that our national anthem reflects this truth and shared appreciation, » he said.

In an obvious stance towards some conservatives who should be wary of change, Morrison stressed that the proposed reformulation of the anthem was not radical.

« Changing from ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’ doesn’t take away anything, but I think it does a lot, » he said.

« It recognizes the distance we have traveled as a nation. It is recognized that our national history stems from more than 300 national ancestors and language groups, and we are the most successful multicultural nation in the world.

“It reaffirms our resolve as one of the oldest democracies in the world, while also recognizing the foundations on which our nation was built and the aspirations we share for the future. ”

It is understood that Morrison has consulted the Federal Cabinet, the Prime Ministers and the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the President of the Senate on the proposed change to the national anthem. Hurley also advised the state governors on the plans.

Australia’s official anthem was last changed from God Save the Queen to Advance Australia Fair in 1984 under the Hawke administration, composed by Peter Dodds McCormick.

The symbolic change comes at a time when Indigenous Australians still face significant hurdles to achieving equality of opportunity.

Indigenous men have an estimated life expectancy of 71. According to the latest data, 6 years, almost nine years less than that of their non-indigenous peers.

For indigenous women, life expectancy is 75. 6 years is roughly eight years less than that of non-indigenous women.

In July, the Morrison government unveiled a new Closing the Gap agreement, which included a commitment to close the life expectancy gap by 2031.

Morrison also committed to shared decision-making between the government and the Aboriginal and islanders of Torres Strait on priority areas such as housing, early childhood and judicial reform.

But his government has disappointed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders by ruling out any amendment to the constitution to enshrine the concept of an indigenous « voice over parliament, » as stated in the Uluru Declaration Heart of 2017 was recommended.

Morrison previously compared the idea to a third chamber of parliament, a continuation of a controversial criticism his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull had used.

Indigenous peoples and legal experts have rejected this characterization, pointing out that a vote against parliament would neither have a right of veto nor examine every law.

Morrison was also extremely critical of people who took part in protests against Black Lives Matter in Australian cities in June, arguing against « importing things that happen overseas into Australia ». .

Traditional owners were shocked by the decision of mining giant Rio Tinto, May 2020 46. Destroying 000 year old caves in the Juukan Gorge in Western Australia.

The Australian Federation took place on 1. January 1901, but the indigenous and island people of Torres Strait have lived on the continent for tens of thousands of years.

Morrison’s predecessor Turnbull is one of many who say the British colonization of Australia in 1788 could well be described as an « invasion ». .

Scott Morrison, Advance Australia Fair, national anthem

World News – AU – ‘We are one and free’: Australia’s national anthem is set to change to recognize indigenous history


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