National anthem can’t be ‘changed willy nilly’ but altering one lyric is ‘appropriate’

Changing the national anthem to recognise the past by altering the lyrics ‘young and free’ to ‘one and free’ is “appropriate” but people should not go overboard, according to former NSW treasurer Michael Costa.

On the weekend, a rugby match between the Wallabies and Argentina saw Australia’s national anthem being firstly sung in an Indigenous version, before being sung in English.

It comes as there is a growing push for the lyrics in the national anthem to be changed to ‘one and free’ as those opposed to the current lyrics argue ‘young and free’ does not properly recognise Indigenous history.

“These things have got to evolve,” Mr Costa said.

“But we can’t change them willy nilly. A change like that to refer to the past I think is appropriate, but we don’t want to go overboard on all this.”

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