Always was, always will be
This country and its people are not young and the land was not free. The Indigenous people of Australia hold over 60,000 years of history and in light of NAIDOC week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian calls for the Australian Anthem to be changed. Her suggestion is to make a small change to the existing lyric, ‘we are young and free,’ to ‘we are one and free.’
By changing one word, thousands of decades of Indigenous history is no longer dismissed in our nation’s anthem. The issue was raised in light of the Indigenous All Stars Rugby League game, where players voiced that the anthem did not represent their families and heritage.
Premier’s call to action is one of great importance, following the senate’s poor decision to vote against displaying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in the chamber. The proposal was shot down during NAIDOC week, further demonstrating how far we still have to go to acknowledge our first Australians.
NAIDOC week is all about celebrating the accomplishments of our Indigenous people here in Australia. The theme for 2020 is ‘always was, always will be.’ Given the uproar of the senate’s decision and the sorrow the premier has expressed towards the Nation’s first people, it is fitting that we be reminded of who owns the land we walk on.
On today’s ‘OffCampus’ show, the diploma team celebrated NAIDOC week and recognised the work and efforts of Indigenous Australians. It is important to learn about the history of NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee). NAIDOC stemmed from the 1920’s when Aboriginal rights groups were publicly boycotting Australia day, now more widely known as ‘Invasion day’ to many. Australia day protests became known to Indigenous people as ‘Mourning Day’. Mourning day which later would become Aboriginies Day, was moved to July to make the day a celebration of culture, rather than just in protest and mourning.
Now in 2020 NAIDOC is celebrated as a week, to better encapsulate the achievements and culture of the nation’s first people. Today on TAFE radio, our ‘OffCampus’ diploma show celebrates NAIDOC week and our Indigenous people. This land always was, always will be that of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.