There are plenty of reasons to dislike the Australian national anthem as a piece of music. Compared to some of the other national tunes kicking about, Advance Australia Fair feels just a bit… jaunty. La Marsellaise doesn’t exactly have that problem. Then there’s the fact it was only selected as our anthem after a 1973 contest failed to dig up any better alternatives; somehow, the Australia Council for the Arts didn’t find one piece of music out of 1,200 that they felt was better than Advance Australia Fair. 1,200.
Then there are the lyrics.
In addition to forcing generations of young Australians to look up the definition of ‘girt‘, the words have long projected a vision of Australia from the eyes of newcomers to the continent. Indigenous Australians aren’t even mentioned in the piece. In short clip for The Weekly, rapper Briggs has unpacked each convenient omission and oversight in the song. There are more than a few.
That clip was broadcast the same evening as the first State of Origin rugby league series, during which several players chose not to sing along to Advance Australia Fair. As it so happens, Briggs also performed at the event, but his contribution for The Weekly might just reach a few more folks who might not know why some Australians are reticent to rhapsodise about the “young and free.”