Boxing great Anthony Mundine has blasted the Australian national anthem lyric change, claiming it “ain’t good enough”.
A new version of the national anthem was adopted on Friday, with one line of the song’s lyrics changing from January 1st onwards.
In a late night announcement on New Year’s Eve, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Governor-General David Hurley had agreed to the federal government’s recommendation to amend the anthem.
The second line of Advance Australia Fair will change from “For we are young and free” to “For we are one and free”.
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It’s the first modification to the anthem since the Hawke government in 1984, when it was changed from God Save the Queen to Advance Australia Fair.
“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,” Morrison said.
“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.”
However, Indigenous sporting icon Mundine was unimpressed with the announcement, claiming the national anthem remains a “white supremacy song”.
“One word ain’t gonna change the core meaning of a song!” Mundine said in a statement, as reported by Wide World of Sports.
“It’s always gonna be a white supremacy song until the whole song is rewritten.
“Still ain’t good enough.”
Meanwhile, Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman supported the change, tweeting on Friday morning: “What a way to start the year. A phone call from our Prime Minister to say that we are ‘One and Free!’ Thank you.”
Mundine has been an outspoken advocate for changing the Australian national anthem, previously calling on State of Origin players to boycott the song.
Before Australia’s Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in December, a spine-tingling rendition of Advance Australia Fair was performed both in English and in the Eora language.
But Mundine argued just because the language changed, the meaning of the anthem didn’t, said it was still offensive to First Nations people.
“You can’t just sing the same original text in Aboriginal language and think it’s going to fly with people,” Mundine told The Daily Telegraph last month.
“It got people talking but it still ain’t the right message. It looks good and sounded good when the Wallabies sung it and it looks like they’re giving back — but they’re not really giving back.
“The anthem is the theme song for the white Australian policy.”
Mundine played 134 NRL matches before pursuing a career in professional boxing. The 45-year-old is scheduled to fight Michael Zerafa for the WBA Oceania middleweight title at Bendigo Stadium in March.
The change to the anthem’s lyrics has been backed by politicians from both major parties.
“I think it’s about time we recognise the tens of thousands of years of the First Nations people of this continent,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in November.
“Recognising all of our key parts of our society is critical. And I think if we say, ‘We’re one and free,’ it acknowledges that we’re not really young as a continent. We’re tens of thousands of years old when it comes to human inhabitants.
“Respect is important. Inclusiveness is important.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: “I think we should be one nation as all Australians, regardless of race, colour or creed, whether you’re migrants who have come here to this nation.
“I have no problem with changing the wording to ‘one’ if it will unite our nation.”