We Are Not ‘Young and Free’

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Why did Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta woman, soprano and composer, turn down the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the 2015 AFL Grand Final? She explains, “as an Indigenous leader I simply can no longer sing the words “we are young and free”. For that matter, as an Australian with a strong desire to deepen our nation’s understanding of identity and our place in the world, I believe we can and must do better.’ In 2009, Deborah helped launch alternative lyrics written by Judith Durham in consultation with Muti Muti singer songwriter Kutcha Edwards. According to Deborah, “the words are as inclusive as they are beautiful”. She goes on to say, “I believe one day we will sing these words at grand finals and other important events and that they will serve to bring us together. Australia, it’s time to sing a new song.” Australia, celebrate as one, with peace and harmony. Our precious water, soil and sun, grant life for you and me. Our land abounds in nature’s gifts to love, respect and share, And honouring the Dreaming, advance Australia fair. With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair. Australia, let us stand as one, upon …

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