Advance Australia Fair: singing the anthem may be compulsory for students

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Queensland students may soon be forced to sing Advance Australia Fair, proving once again that our kids are taller than grownups.

In an effort to foster unity, “regardless of a student’s race or religion,” Queensland students will soon be forced to sing Advance Australia Fair, as part of a plan to build an “identity. national ”among the younger generations.

As The Courier Courier reported: “LNP members, at the party’s state council meeting in Gladstone on Saturday, supported calls for the state opposition to ‘adopt a policy that would require the singing of the national anthem. at the start of the school day for all schools ”. The motion was initially for the hymn to be sung daily, but was changed to be at least once a week. “

Maroochydore MP Fiona Simpson said, “We need to make sure our children understand how important this is as part of their national identity and then develop it as citizens. “

In 2018, 9-year-old Harper Neilsen refused to run for the national anthem, which subjected her to a barrage of vitriol from Pauline Hanson, Tony Abbott, Mark Latham and others. One thing that stands out from Harper’s action is that children appear to be more mature than adults. An elementary school girl sharpened the conscience of a nation. She didn’t say anything that others haven’t already said, but her youth and the fact that she is white and only nine years old has caused many to re-evaluate the true message of Advance Australia Fair. Harper maintains that our national anthem tolerates, even celebrates racism, and as a matter of principle she has made her protest peaceful. Just weeks after taking a stand, many other children across the country followed suit, refusing to defend the anthem.

Harper Nielsen exemplified the institutionalized racism and iniquity of our anthem. She clearly thought a lot about the words and their meanings before acting. In recent years, Indigenous leaders have called the anthem racist, to no avail. That says a lot in itself. Mainstream Australia ignores comments from prominent Australian Aborigines, including sportsman Anthony Mundine and soprano Deborah Cheetham, but sits down and notices when the same is being said by a white child. There is racism there. It’s hard to deny. However, there is another element at play, instead of listening to what children want or don’t want, they are told what is good for them, in order to satisfy some sort of nebulous idea of ​​Australia. that exists in the minds of conservative politicians. .

In 2021, for the first time since it was proclaimed Australia’s national anthem in 1984, Advance Australia Fair has been tinkered with. The discordant words in the second line, “For we are young and free” have been replaced by “For we are one and free. “

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “We live in a timeless land of ancient First Nations peoples, and we bring together the stories of over 300 national ancestries and language groups. Rhetorically, he asked, “How good is Australia? The change of the anthem “simply reflects the realities of how we understand our country and who we always hope to be and the values ​​we will always live”.

This change put Morrison in the good books of Indigenous singer Deborah Cheetham, a Yorta Yorta woman. “It’s an important recognition. The word young has underestimated the lives that have lived on this continent for millennia. The President of the First Nations Foundation and man of Yorta Yorta, Ian Hamm, was also warmed by the change. “In terms of culture, society and people, we go back 60,000 years. We are certainly not young.

He was also encouraged by New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who suggested the amended wording last November. “I think it’s time we recognized the tens of thousands of years of the First Nations peoples of this continent.

He is unmistakably British, colonial and childish. It presents happy threads (the daughters are secondary and absent) and golden soil (it was a bit wrong) and wealth for labor; he mentions the voyages of James Cook, the raising of the “flag of old England, the standard of the brave.” The fourth verse suggests that, as far as Australia is, the outpost of Britannia “will rise up with arms like sires of old, To guard our native shore.”

Spending time in Australia is an experience, not with muscular youth, but with old age. The continent exudes the severity of critical wear and tear and experience. She suffers from mood swings: punitive droughts overcome by vengeful floods; fires that burn with incandescent fury. But in human and cultural terms, age has become a grieving fetish in Australia. The words “continuous and uninterrupted civilization” are a declaration of mourning, commemorating a past brutally disrupted by the European invasion.

In accordance with hymns which are skimmed readings rather than deep evocations of a national character, Advance Australia Fair fails to impress. The work of Scottish-born composer Peter Dodds McCormick, it was first performed in the late 1870s. A short note announcing his arrival on the music scene can be found in the Newcastle Morning Herald and the Minors’ Lawyer. “The song is in the key of C, is simple in its accompaniment and has a pretty decided air. The words are essentially patriotic and well chosen.

The original version is unmistakably British, colonial and childish. It presents happy threads (the daughters are secondary and absent) and golden soil (it was a bit wrong) and wealth for labor; he mentions the voyages of James Cook, the raising of the “flag of old England, the standard of the brave.” The fourth verse suggests that, as far as Australia is, the outpost of Britannia “will rise up with arms like sires of old, To guard our native shore.”

There is no mention of the horrors of penal servitude, Fatal Shore and the like, no hint that the earth was populated. According to a descendant of McCormick, a certain G. Murrow, it was never intended as a national anthem but “a simple melody for children”.

It certainly wasn’t a competition for that more accurate description of the Australian character found in Waltzing Matilda (1895), featuring an outlaw swagman, cattle rustling, and possible suicide by drowning. It is also likely that the sheep consumed is itself the property of a squatter, that great symbol of the appropriation of borders. The flight comes in degrees. “I’m telling you,” says writer Patrick Marlborough, “that Banjo Patterson’s banger and mash of monsters, about an outlaw swagman turned troppo, embodies the madness that haunts the Australian psyche. ” But a plebiscite in 1977 favored the less revealing version of McCormick, replacing God Save the Queen.

The current Australian anthem sounds like the result of a committee process marred by endless meetings of overwhelming monotony. It is a statement of underperformance, saying little. The little he says is fallacious.

The current Australian anthem sounds like the result of a committee process marred by endless meetings of overwhelming monotony. It is a statement of underperformance, saying little. The little he says is fallacious. The old “golden soil and richness of labor” remains. Australia’s homeland is “surrounded by the sea”. Worryingly, “For those who have crossed the seas / We have endless plains to share.” A dedicated concentration camp system to deter boat arrivals suggests further fixes are in order.

Prosaic and uninspiring for school parades, the national anthem has struck songwriters like Shane Howard as “racist on so many levels, written for a white Australia that is irrelevant, or should be. . Apologies to the writer, but the lyrics are also poorly crafted, are largely meaningless sentimentality, and are a low-quality melody.

Howard’s opinions came in response to a very public refusal by nine-year-old schoolgirl Harper Nielsen in September 2018 to stick to the anthem. “When we say ‘we are young’, it does not take into account indigenous peoples,” she explained. As school children are discouraged from holding strong opinions, Harper was taken into custody for “gross disrespect” for refusing to participate in the hymn ritual with his classmates at Kenmore South State School in Brisbane. One nation’s senator, Pauline Hanson, preferred even harsher treatment. “We have a brainwashed child and I’m telling you what, I’ll kick him in the back.”

Supporters of the anthem include former officials like Frank Cassidy. In a letter to Canberra schedule last November, Cassidy emphasized the uniqueness of the Australian anthem (they still do) and praised the revised lyrics, which “were rewritten in 1982 to make them politically correct, fully inclusive and broadly representative of the A modern nation that Australia was then and still is today. “Only a bureaucrat softened by long meetings could express such satisfaction.

In the anthem debates, Morrison saved up. The change is cosmetic, the timing is perfect. The Prime Minister even went so far as to admit that this “does not take anything away … but adds a lot”.

Quite.

Dr Binoy Kampmark contributed to this report.



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