Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney. (Photo: Getty Images)
The debate over Australia’s national song was reignited a month ago when three Indigenous rugby league players refused to sing the national anthem during the first game in this year’s State of Origin series.
Their dissent followed a similar stance by American NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who in 2016 began kneeling during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, as a protest at racial injustice and police brutality. The controversy prematurely ended his career.
Boxer Anthony Mundine also refused to stand for the national anthem before his fight with Danny Green at the Adelaide Oval in January 2017.
Burney said she was supportive of the actions of Cody Walker, Josh Addo-Carr and Will Chambers during the State of Origin, while playing down the significance of it.
“I very much respected the actions of Walker and the others that didn’t sing the anthem during the State of Origin,” she said.
“But I also know that Cody Walker and the other young men that decided not to sing it made the point they didn’t want it to be a political act. That was the way they were raised and that’s the way they felt.”
HIP HOP STAR BACKS CHANGING ANTHEM
Yesterday, Aria Award winning artist Tarik Ejjamai also threw his support behind changing the anthem.
Ejjamai, AKA DJ Izm, the man behind the turntables in the Aussie hip-hop trio Bliss n Esso, said: “None of those lyrics represent any indigenous people.
“If you’re going to do an anthem you need to poetically mention the people who have been on the land for a long, long time.”
Last month indigenous rapper/actor Adam Briggs released a comedic video critiquing the anthem almost word for word.
“He had every right to do what he needed to do. I’m all for what he wanted to say,” added Ejjamai.