Some notes about your anthem

words by Sky Thomas (Soju Gang)
Image by Laura Du Vé for Haus of Dizzy

Some notes about your anthem

It’s been around for less than 40 years. It was originally written as something sung by white male nationalists.

In the original “verse two” it talks about how great Cook is and his so called bravery where in reality his feat caused the almost genocide, the enslavement, the rape and the abduction of Aboriginal people (most of which is still happening), but also marks the detrimental impact colonial Britain have placed on Australia’s wildlife and environment:

Verse Two
When gallant Cook from Albion sail'd,
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
"Brittannia rules the wave!"
In joyful strains then let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

And to all my POC who like the anthem this was an original verse too: 

Verse Four
Shou'd foreign foe e'er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Brittannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide ocean's roll,
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains the let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"

Talking about a country being “young” and “free” is not how Indigenous people view it, or in that case, migrant, refugees, queer, disabled and the majority of the black community. The culture of Aboriginal people has been here for over 60,000 years - this country is not young. And not acknowledging that is erasing us. Free, we are anything but. Indigenous people are the most incarcerated peoples in the whole world, we live in third world conditions having most of us with little to no opportunity for decent healthcare, education and housing. This country criminalises us along with the black community as well. Depending on your race, abilities, mental health, wealth and religion determines how you get treated in this country and that is not fairness or freedom. 

Last but not least; it’s been argued academically that the original meaning behind the words “Advance Australia Fair” is about rejoicing the advancing endeavours of Australia being civilised by the white man. Fair as in light/white. Advance to Australia becoming more and more white. Which would make sense in regards to how the song was used when it was first written. 

Said it once and I’ll say it again: fuh-uhck ur anthem x

Follow Soju Gang here.

After some of the State of Origin players refused to sing the national anthem, Sunrise released a poll to ask whether it should be changed. According to the poll 72% said no and 28% said yes but knowing who Sunrise’s audience is are we really surprised?

Briggs also unpacked the anthem on abc, watch it here: