Aussie gov't rejects push to change "offensive" national anthem

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-23 19:02:10|Editor: xuxin
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CANBERRA, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government on Tuesday rejected a push to alter Australia's national anthem so that it no longer contains words which may be seen as offensive to some Indigenous citizens.

Advance Australia Fair has been Australia's national anthem since 1984, but respected poet and Victorian Supreme Court judge Peter Vickery has said the line "for we are young and free" should be replaced by "in peace and harmony," as the notion of being "young and free" was "offensive" to Indigenous Australians who were brutally treated by early European settlers and Australian governments.

But the government, through a spokesperson for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has officially responded to the push, saying the anthem would not be changed, while Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister James McGrath was less receptive to the idea, saying: "Hell no."

The spokesperson said, "Advance Australia Fair" would remain the official national anthem, but "there may be occasions when (Vickery's) version of Advance Australia Fair could be performed as a patriotic song" though the spokesperson gave no indication as to what such situation that might be.

"I appreciate the effort and intent of your thoughtful and creative proposals for changes to the anthem," the spokesperson said in comments published on Tuesday.

"It would not be appropriate for alternative versions of Advance Australia Fair to be presented as the Australian national anthem, which should be performed as proclaimed."

Vickery told News Corp on Tuesday that he would not give up on his crusade, saying he would invite members of the public to share their thoughts in order to gain more widespread support.