For the first time since 1984 the text of the Australian national anthem was changed by one word to reflect what Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls “the spirit of unity”.
The Prime Minister announced on New Year’s Eve that the second line of the anthem had been changed from “For we are young and free” to “For we are one and free”.
Governor General David Hurley has endorsed the Commonwealth recommendation to change the anthem.
Prime Minister Morrison said in a statement that the change would be made for all Australians.
“Last year we again showed the indomitable spirit of the Australians and the combined effort that has always enabled us to assert ourselves as a nation,” he said.
“It’s time to make sure that this great unity is better reflected in our national anthem.”
“Even if Australia is relatively young as a modern nation, the history of our country is ancient, as is the stories of the many First Nations peoples, whose responsibility we rightly recognize and respect.
“In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we ensure that our national anthem reflects that truth and shared appreciation. The change from” young and free “to” one and free “doesn’t take anything away, but I think it adds a lot at, “said Morrison.
The historical change to the Advance Australia Fair, composed by Peter Dodds McCormick and premiered in 1878, came after consultations with Prime Ministers and Governors.
It was adopted as the country’s national anthem on April 19, 1984, replacing God Save the Queen, which had been in force since British colonization.
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