Wednesday, April 19, 2017


It was on this day in 1984 that Advance Australia Fair became the official national anthem of Australia. This happened only 83 years after federation, and 106 years after Peter Dodds McCormick composed it in 1878. So much for efficient government decision making.

I was in primary school at the time. We had a school assembly at the start of every school week. It comprised a flag raising, and playing of the national anthem on the public address system, which I remember had tinny speakers. Prior to Advance Australia Fair, the anthem was God Save the Queen. We were not expected to sing it, but listen to it quietly and watch the flag being raised on the school's flagpole.

I forget if this also happened when the new anthem was introduced and played at assembly for the first time, but our federal member of Parliament attended one assembly to present the school with a new Australian flag. He said that he asked for it directly from Bob Hawke, who was Prime Minister at the time. I didn't believe him, but at least it was an amusing story.

Since then, we have regularly debated replacing the anthem with another song, because some commentators claim that it is racist, and its lyrics are outdated. At this time, there are not any suitable alternatives, so why not retain what we already have?

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