One phrase modified in Australia’s nationwide anthem to replicate ‘spirit of unity’

Melbourne, January 1

The lyrics of Australia’s national anthem have been changed by one word for the first time since 1984 to reflect what Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls “the spirit of unity”.

The Prime Minister on the New Year’s Eve announced that the second line of the anthem has been changed from “For we are young and free” to “For we are one and free”.

Governor-General David Hurley has agreed to the Commonwealth’s recommendation to make an amendment to the anthem.

Prime Minister Morrison said in a statement that the change was being made for all Australians.

“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,” he said.

“It is time to ensure this great unity is reflected more fully in our national anthem.

“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. Changing ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’ takes nothing away, but I believe it adds much,” Morrison said.

The historic change to Advance Australia Fair, which was composed by Peter Dodds McCormick and first performed in 1878, has been done after consultations with state premiers and state governors.

It was adopted as the country’s national anthem on April 19, 1984, replacing God Save the Queen, which had been in place since the time of British settlement. PTI

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