From today, the words “for we are young and free” in the Australian national anthem will be replaced by “for we are one and free”.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last night that the Government’s recommended change to Advance Australia Fair had been approved by the Governor-General David Hurley.
The new anthem takes effect from January 1, 2021.
“During the past year we have showed once again the indomitable spirit of Australians and the united effort that has always enabled us to prevail as a nation. It is time to ensure this great unity is reflected more fully in our national anthem,” Mr Morrison said in a statement.
“Also, while Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect.
“In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we ensure our National Anthem reflects this truth and shared appreciation.
“Changing ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’ takes nothing away, but I believe it adds much.
“It recognises the distance we have travelled as a nation. It recognises that our national story is drawn from more than 300 national ancestries and language groups and we are the most successful multicultural nation on earth. It reaffirms our resolve as one of the world’s oldest democracies, while honouring the foundations upon which our nation has been built and the aspirations we share for the future.”
Mr Morrison said 2020 had “highlighted the strength of all Australians in staying together and supporting each other”.
“We are making our own Australian way through this crisis, a way guided by our enduring principles and values and together, we have done so better than almost any other country in the world. Our unity has been critical to this achievement.
“One and free” is and must be the story of every Australian and it’s the way we truly Advance Australia Fair.”
Advance Australia Fair was composed by Peter Dodds McCormick and first performed in 1878.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke last recommended a modification of the National Anthem to the Governor-General in 1984.