In a lively discussion on ABC's QandA, the question of whether Australia should modify its national anthem to better represent the diverse population took center stage.
The panel, featuring figures like journalist Cheng Lei, TV personality Osher Gunsberg, singer Anthony Callea, LGBTQ advocate Todd Fernando, and Liberal Party advisor Charlotte Mortlock, explored the idea of ditching "Advance Australia Fair."
Sue Nami, a member of the audience, argued for a shift, saying:
"We need an anthem that we can be proud of."
They compared the lyrics of "Advance Australia Fair" to "I Am Australian," emphasising the latter's broader perspective that includes various cultures. Gunsberg humorously suggested adding entertainment elements like key changes and pyrotechnic cues to make the anthem more engaging.
While Mortlock proposed retaining the anthem but incorporating additional elements, Dr. Fernando revealed his disengagement with the anthem, opting to stand rather than sing. Callea supported the idea of reworking the anthem to unify people, acknowledging the need for change.
Cheng Lei, recently released from Chinese detention, highlighted the emotional power of songs, expressing that if people feel the anthem doesn't reflect their Australian experience, it should be changed.
This debate follows Prime Minister Scott Morrison's 2020 alteration of the anthem's lyrics, replacing "young and free" with "one and free" to acknowledge Australia's ancient history and multiculturalism.
Recognition in Anthem, a not-for-profit group, has advocated for further changes, aiming to make the anthem more inclusive of Indigenous history and values.