Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” is a popular dance anthem, but recently, a small group of Australian citizens wanted to make it a national anthem, as well. As HuffPost Australia reports, four people submitted a petition in March to replace the country’s official song, “Advance Australia Fair,” with the hip-hop group’s 2003 hit.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull provided a formal response to the House of Representatives, which was tabled yesterday. Predictably, it contained a polite rejection:
In his response, Turnbull explained that the Australian National Anthem’s words and tune were only made official in 1984 (it replaced British anthem “God Save The Queen”), so it's still relatively new. Plus, it was “adopted only after exhaustive surveys of national opinion, starting in the 1970s,” so it’s pretty popular among most Australians, Turnbull added. “The Australian Government has no plans to change the Anthem," he concluded.
Jokes aside, this isn’t the first time that Australian citizens have issued calls to tweak their country’s anthem. As HuffPost Australia points out, Peter Vickery, a Supreme Court judge in the Australian state of Victoria, wants to change the “Advance Australia Fair” lyrics to make them more inclusive of indigenous Australians.
Vickery argues that the song’s second line, “For we are young and free," should be swapped out for the words "In peace and harmony." Historically, European colonizers and Australian lawmakers treated the nation’s indigenous populations poorly, so some native peoples may be offended by these descriptors, the Supreme Court judge argues. He also penned a third verse, which includes cultural references like the Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock), a sandstone landmark that’s considered sacred by indigenous Australians.
"This situation needs to be put right and without delay,” Vickery said in a statement, as quoted by The West Australia. “Our national anthem needs to be inclusive of all Australians and restored to what it always should have been: a truly inclusive national hymn."
The Australian government recently rejected Vickery’s proposal. They did say, however, that "there may be occasions when (Vickery's) version of Advance Australia Fair could be performed as a patriotic song," according to The Courier Mail.
[h/t HuffPost Australia]