"We decided to focus our attention on the need for a truly great national anthem that everyone will love to sing.”
Australian songwriting legends Shane Howard and John Schumann, best known for their contributions to pivotal ’80s acts Goanna and Redgum, have announced their intentions to come together and pen a new national anthem to better represent the Australian people.
‘Advance Australia Fair’, which was replaced ‘God Save The Queen’ as Australia’s national anthem in 1984, has been a source of contention for much of the public since its adoption, with several parties criticising its archaic lyricism, sleepy melody and failure to acknowledge Indigenous Australians.
Howard and Schumann have both been vocal in their feelings towards the national anthem in the past, with the Goanna frontman penning an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2018 that referred to ‘Advance Australia Fair’ as ‘an anthem that is racist at so many levels.’
Now, as NME Australia reports, the pair have declared their desire to write an alternative anthem, with the duo announcing their mission in a press statement circulated today in which Howard stated that “As songwriters, John and I have both loathed our national anthem for ages.”
“Enough is enough. We decided to focus our attention on the need for a truly great national anthem that everyone will love to sing.”
Schumann also discussed his feelings on the song, stating that the two songwriters were aiming to convene once the NSW/VIC border has opened in order to begin work on the song.
“Somebody needs to explain to us how we have tolerated ‘girt by sea’ and the rest of the inconsequential drivel for as long as we have,” Schumann wrote in the statement.
“Once Victorians are allowed out again, we plan to meet up halfway between our respective homes, find a billabong and camp for as long as it takes to summon up the ghost of Henry Lawson and the spirit of all our ancestors.”
Last week, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian voiced her support for changing the national anthem’s lyrics to better represent Australia’s Indigenous people, telling the ABC that “I think if we say, ‘we’re one and free’, it acknowledges that we’re not really young as a continent.”
“We’re tens of thousands of years old when it comes to human inhabitants. Respect is important. Inclusiveness is important.”
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