The altering of lyrics in the Australia’s national anthem by the University of Sun Shine Coast for playing its own version at an official function has sparked a row.
Queensland MP Jarrod Bleijie, who is an alumni of the university, has taken up cudgels against the university for tinkering with the national anthem. Bleijie, a former attorney-general, said he was outraged by the re-worked anthem. The MP was a guest at the 20th anniversary of the university, held in February, where the new version was played out.
Bleijie shot off protest letters to the University and Education Minister Simon Birmingham, reports News Corp.
“I’m disappointed and offended, but there were many people in the crowd who I know felt the same,” he said.
“It’s important to make a stand against this because it’s wrong.”
However, the university defended the action saying the lyrics in “Advance Australia Fair” were not reflecting the contemporary views. Hence it chose to play Judith Durham’s version that had an inclusive view.
The real twist was the emphasis given to Australia’s indigenous heritage in the lyrics. The new lyrics had assertions like “honouring the Dreaming” and “combine our ancient history and cultures everywhere.”
Bleijie rebuffed the university’s contention that the anthem was outdated. He noted that the current national anthem was not that old and was voted on in 1977 and had an inclusive outlook in terms of its language.
Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg also disapproved such changes and said they should not be led by university activists.
“These things should always be driven by the Australian people,” he said. An explanation has been sought from the university.
In Australia, sensitivities on national anthem are always high. It was evident from a recent episode involving Aussie cricketer Usman Khawaja, who was seen grabbing at team mate Zampa’s butt, while the Australian national anthem was playing. It was captured live in camera during the New Zealand ODI series. Later the video went viral in social media, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Khawaja later took to Twitter and described the incident as “all consensual” and said he was just “having a joke with the debutant.”