Anthem boycotts out of tune with reality

Australians all let us rejoice because we live in a country in which we can complain about our national anthem.

Along with everything else.

When I hear UK TV commentators say how Brexit has divided the country I feel like yelling at the TV, "You want to see divided? Come down here for a while."

Which is why I have my doubts about the latest hoo-ha over Advance Australia Fair.

After the NRL caved in to pressure from members of the Indigenous All Stars and agreed not to play the national anthem prior to Saturday's match against the Maori, there are now calls for it to be cut from this year's Origin series as well.

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Latrell Mitchell leads his team in a war-cry prior to the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Latrell Mitchell leads his team in a war-cry prior to the NRL Indigenous All-Stars vs Maori Kiwis match at CBus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

After that it will be the grand final, and what's next, the AOC announces that it shouldn't be played at the Olympics when we win a gold medal?

Yeah, yeah, I know. The reasoning behind the Origin call is that it isn't an international event so to play Advance Australia Fair would be inappropriate.

The Olympics, on the other hand, is as international as it gets and therefore of course they should play our national anthem as they raise our country's flag.

Except for one little thing: as well as being opposed to our national anthem there are people opposed to our flag.

 

 

 

 

So maybe when our athletes climb to the top of dais in Tokyo there should be no anthem and no flag, because we wouldn't want to upset anyone.

Of course I'm joking. To a degree.

Obviously we must have a national anthem and a flag. It's what countries do. It's how we show everyone else who we are and where we come from.

It's how we demonstrate our nationality in the true sense of the word.

So the answer is to simply commission a new anthem and a new flag that everyone will agree on, right?

Easier said than done, I'm afraid.

 

 

Australia’s gold-medal winning rugby sevens team sings the national anthem at the Rio Olympics. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
Australia’s gold-medal winning rugby sevens team sings the national anthem at the Rio Olympics. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

Now don't get me wrong. I'm no fan of our current anthem - on purely aesthetic grounds. As someone who has been lucky enough to attend major international sporting events around the world for the past 40 years or so I reckon I've heard just about every national anthem there is.

And ours wouldn't rank in the top 50.

On Sunday I watched a replay of the Wales-France rugby match. The game was pretty good. The anthems were sensational. Scotland, Ireland, England, New Zealand, the USA, Brazil … these are anthems that can raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

Our tune - written by a Scotsman I might add - is OK, but the words are an abomination. Girt by sea? Oh please.

But I honestly believe that our country is so divided right now by so many different issues and agendas that to try to come up with something that would please everyone would be impossible.

 

 

 

Blues players Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Cody Walker refuse to sing the national anthem prior to Game l of last year’s Origin series. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Blues players Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr and Cody Walker refuse to sing the national anthem prior to Game l of last year’s Origin series. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

After all, if a new song is written so that it recognises the concerns of one sector of the community, what about all the other minority groups? Don't they deserve to be included?

Or does the group that is most incensed by the current anthem believe that their grievances are so weighty and personal that there is no room for anyone else in a revised version?

That being the case, how can there possibly be a compromise?

Other than this: we stop playing our national anthem here in Australia and only sing it at the top of our voices overseas.

That way at least the rest of the world can think we're a country united.


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