Blues players Josh Morris, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker and Damien Cook are seen during the national anthem before Origin game one. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
Blues players Josh Morris, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker and Damien Cook are seen during the national anthem before Origin game one. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Leave our bloody national anthem alone

OPINION

Here we go again: a handful of people have decided they want the Australian national anthem changed and supposedly this is a "mood for change".

At last night's State of Origin, a number of rugby league players staged a silent protest. NSW's Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr and Queensland's Will Chambers refused to sing. Reports are suggesting up to 11 players of 34 on the field appeared not to sing.

Several players didn't sing the anthem when the Australian indigenous All Stars played New Zealand Maori Kiwis in Melbourne earlier this year.

 

Not all Blues players sang national anthem at last night’s State of Origin. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty
Not all Blues players sang national anthem at last night’s State of Origin. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty

 

Guess what? Advance Australia Fair went on without them.

Players have been mumbling along for years and a handful of rugby league players do not represent the majority of Australians.

The vast majority of what we're now calling "quiet Australians" don't want the national anthem changed.

They couldn't give two hoots about the wording of the national anthem because they're too busy working three jobs just to pay their power bills and provide for their families.

Actually, today they are busy nursing hangovers not fretting over society's progress.

They enjoyed watching the game last night despite the silent protest from the handful that argued the line "young and free" ignores our Aboriginal history.

Let me tell you a secret: people who think that line in our national anthem "ignores our Aboriginal history" won't be happy with one quick word change.

You cannot pretend that plucking one weed will fix what some see as an unkempt forest that has been allowed to grow for decades.

Some people are determined to be perpetually aggrieved by history.

Changing "young" to "strong" is not going to make them happy.

It's not going to bring world peace, end homelessness, help find solutions to addiction or decrease violence in Aboriginal communities.

The fact that the wellbeing of our indigenous population continues to stagnate is not affected by the wording of a song.

And besides, a progressive social agenda just lost the federal election. Maybe senior Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek missed that?

"I love singing the national anthem, and I sing it with pride," she tweeted.

"But if we can make a small change to recognise our country's incredible 60,000+ years of continuous culture, then let's just do it."

Clearly, she learned as much from the stinging federal election results as Bill Shorten. Neither of them appears to understand the vast majority of Australians aren't interested in playing identity politics.

Frankly, most are happy the second word in our national anthem is "all".

On the other side of politics, Liberal MP Craig Kelly suggested "strong and free" could address the problem.

"If these gentlemen said (they) would be happy to sing the national anthem with changing that one word, I think a lot of Australians would sit down and they would say, 'OK let's change that word,'" Kelly told ABC radio.

Clearly he doesn't understand that the problem is not the national anthem at all. Rather, this is about believing a section of our society was not treated fairly by history.

There is no magic wand to fix that mindset.

You could rewrite our national anthem 1000 times and they still would not be happy.

Some people like to pretend this is about being inclusive. It's not. This is actually about the right to feel wronged. Sadly, many will cling to that with all the strength they can muster.

This trend of athletes using their celebrity status to take a social stand is all well and good but don't expect the majority of people not earning a star-studded wage to have the same priorities. Just play the game.



Lions step up relief aide

premium_icon Lions step up relief aide

Yeppoon Lions are helping families affected by last months bushfire while helping...

New cafe with a buzz for Emu Park

premium_icon New cafe with a buzz for Emu Park

The Honeybee Collective owner Katie Coffee is determined to being something...

Record crowd at Carols event

premium_icon Record crowd at Carols event

People with pillows, blankets and Christmas cheer crowded the last night to...