Shane Howard and John Schumann – songwriters from Goanna and Redgum and The Vagabond Crew respectively – have announced they are working on a potential new Australian anthem.
The pair have long been critics of the anthem in the media – in 2018, Howard called ‘Advance Australia Fair’ “an anthem that is racist on so many levels, written for a white Australia that is irrelevant, or should be”.
Now, they plan to work together on a new one when the NSW-Victoria border comes down.
“As songwriters, John and I have both loathed our national anthem for ages,” Howard said in a press statement.
“Enough is enough. We decided to focus our attention on the need for a truly great national anthem that everyone will love to sing.”
Schumann continued: “Somebody needs to explain to us how we have tolerated ‘girt by sea’ and the rest of the inconsequential drivel for as long as we have…Once Victorians are allowed out again, we plan to meet up halfway between our respective homes, find a billabong and camp for as long as it takes to summon up the ghost of Henry Lawson and the spirit of all our ancestors.”
The news comes after NSW State Premier Gladys Berejiklian last week backed a change to the lyric “we are young and free” to “we are one and free” in ‘Advance Australia Fair’ – in order to recognise that First Nations people lived in the country for tens of thousands of years before colonisation.
Briggs was the last most prominent musical critic of the current anthem – the rapper, comedian and writer appeared in a sketch last year on ABC’s The Weekly which described what its lyrics sounded like to Indigenous people, declaring that “the song sucks”.
Howard and Schumann previously collaborated on the 2017 single ‘Times Like These’.