Sydney harbour Australia
Australia has tweaked its national anthem ‘Advance Australia Fair’ to recognize the country’s Indigenous history and communities. Image Credit: AP

Canberra: Australia brought in the New Year differently this year by tweaking their national anthem ‘Advance Australia Fair’ slightly to recognize the country’s Indigenous history and communities, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The first line, “Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free,” will now end with “one and free.”

“Australia as a modern nation may be relatively young, but our country’s story is ancient, as are the stories of the many First Nations peoples whose stewardship we rightly acknowledge and respect,” Morrison wrote in an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald as quoted by CNN.

Takes nothing away

“In the spirit of unity, it is only right that we also now acknowledge this and 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,” he added.

History suggests that the Australian governments of the past have changed the song to make it more inclusive when Peter Dodds McCormick’s original 1878 composition was declared the official national anthem in 1984, replacing “God Save the Queen,” two instances of “sons” were switched with gender-neutral phrasing.