Rapper and multi-hyphenate entertainer Adam Briggs has again explained why he believes the Australian national anthem should be overhauled, telling last night’s Q&A audience its lyrics do not account for the disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians. More simply: the Yorta Yorta man called Advance Australia Fair a “bad song,” and explained exactly why.
After an audience member asked what it would take for all Australians to rally behind the tune, Briggs said “I don’t think anyone is really that attached to it because the song’s just not that good.”
He reiterated points he raised in a recent sketch for The Weekly, in which he dissected the lyrics line by line and revealed their discrepancies to the lived realities of many Indigenous Australians.
In a clear reference to the line “we are young and free,” Briggs said “We’ve been here for 60,000 years. We had better songs.”
The discussion took a harder edge when another audience member, who said she and Briggs shared similarities because her “Celtic ancestors were dispossessed by the same people who dispossessed Indigenous Australians,” asked why we can’t all respect the current flag and anthem as they stand.
Briggs’ response was personal, delving into his recent family history to illustrate the disparities between Indigenous Australians and the broader populace.
To compare Indigenous disadvantage to any other kind of disadvantage in Australia is vastly… it’s crazy to me. Up until the 80s, my parents got turned away from home ownership. They had the deposit, but as soon as the person selling the house found out that they were Indigenous, that house was no longer for sale. And that was the 80s. The disadvantage that we face is still today.
When asked by moderator Tony Jones about reactions to the sketch, Briggs made it even clearer that even speaking about the matter results in racist commentary.
“I’ve got a manager and one of his jobs is deleting the racist comments every day. Every day. And it’s a big job,” Briggs said.
“Probably need two managers. But the message is so much more important. The message is bigger than me as well.”
Given the fact many councils and cultural institutions are reconsidering the celebration of Australia Day on January 26, expect discussions of anthem amendments to continue. As Briggs said, maybe Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan can cobble together a new version.
Watch the full exchange here.