The national anthem Australia really deserves
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The national anthem Australia really deserves

Regular readers of this column over the years would be well aware there are serious problems with our national anthem - for a start, that it's inexplicably still not 'Pressure Down' by John Farnham.

But although this shameful and unpatriotic situation has been allowed to fester, at least some visionaries are prepared to take steps toward erasing the darkest stain on our nation's heart - specifically, that there are not enough references to Australian values in 'Advance Australia Fair'.

Queensland government backbencher Andrew "The Lamington" Laming grasped the nettle on Tuesday, telling Fairfax Media the national anthem should have "a first verse that focuses on our natural attributes and a second one that focuses on values". You know, like all national anthems do.

"I think that the only way national anthems can distinguish themselves is through their values," he cogently explained, "and I do feel our current second verse has pretty much the same message as the first verse."

Andrew Laming has suggested a verse that ''focuses on our values".

Andrew Laming has suggested a verse that ''focuses on our values".

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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And let's be clear: this is worthy of considered discussion, because changing specific lyrics in the national anthem is a) vitally important to the continued functioning of Australian society, and b) something which the federal government absolutely does.

And sure, you might be cynically rolling your eyes and saying "you're just playing into a pointless piece of political manipulation using the meaningless notion of 'Australian values' to take the attention away from the budget deficit, or the inability of the government to address the housing crisis, or the parlous health of the Great Barrier Reef, or the proposed granting of loans to Indian mining conglomerates or the likelihood of the US enmeshing us in another unwinnable Middle Eastern conflict or the roiling internal conflict within the government itself and one former PM in particular."

But that would be just plain silly!

Obviously this is the single most serious matter facing Australians today. After all, the Lamington has only ever focussed on the big issues. You know, like spending eleven hours fighting with a Simpsons meme page on Facebook.

And who would ever accuse a man of attention seeking when his previous greatest political claim to fame was chugging a beer while doing a handstand on Australia Day?

But you can see Laming's point. Go to any public event where the national anthem is sung and you'll be reminded that the second verse of 'Advance Australia Fair' currently goes "Beneath our… something… / da da da… we'll… something / Bom tiddle bom / We'll be riding on the horses / yeah yeah".

And this clarity and patriotic focus neatly matches that of our Keeper of Australian Values, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

When he was asked "Could you give a summary of those things which you believe all Australians should sign up to?" during his press conference last week in which he called for a greater pride in "our Australian values" he explained... actually, let's just use his answer as the new verse:

"What we will, the answer is / yes, but the discussion / Paper that Peter's department / has released is going to / engage public discussion as / indeed Phil Ruddock and Connie / Fierravanti Wells / work did a little while ago / Australians have an enormous reservoir of good sense / Advance Australia Fair" Rolls off the tongue!

Of course, we can safely assume any Coalition call for changes to the national anthem's second verse are being made in order to finally correct the dangerous and seditious message "For those who've come across the seas, we've boundless plains to share".

For, as Turnbull made clear, Australia is "the most successful multicultural society in the world", and therefore we need to make getting into Australia harder for immigrants generally and those of non-English speaking background particularly - because, as he explained to Sunrise, that will "reinforce our success", which is a thing that definitely makes sense.

So, for Turnbull, for Dutton, and most of all for Laming, here's a more Australian values-filled second verse. You're welcome.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross

We'll toil with mines and mines,

And proudly stand with beer in hand

As coral health declines,

For those who've come across the seas,

We've border force for you,

With scant escape from death and rape,

On Manus and Nauru,

In joyful 'Strayn let's jobs and growth,

Advance Australia Mates

The new Australian-value-packed edition of the Double Disillusionists podcast with Andrew P Street and Dom Knight is up now, with special guest Janine Perrett (Sky News), and tickets are on sale now for the next Double Disillusionists Live event at Giant Dwarf on Tuesday 2 May with guests Mark Humphries (The Feed) and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally.

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