Australians rang in the New Year with a milestone word change to the national anthem, but among the country’s unfinished reconciliation business are two whole new verses to Advance Australia Fair.

New Year’s Day of 2021 brought the new, amended anthem line, “for we are one and free”, after the Governor-General, David Hurley, agreed to the Commonwealth Government’s recommendation to the one-word fix, substituting “young” for the more unifying “one”.

One little word change is huge: the old lyric “for we are young and free” had failed to acknowledge more than 60,000 years of Indigenous existence, thus perpetuating the fiction of terra nullius, a Latin expression meaning “nobody’s land” which British colonisers used as a legal basis to justify occupation without treaty or reparations.

But the Recognition in Anthem Projectwants to spell out what “one” means in detail and has also created whole new second and third verses for Advance Australia Fair, which it still hopes will likewise be formally adopted on the Commonwealth’s recommendation.

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