We Waded Through The Comments On Sunrise’s National Anthem Poll (and Corrected Them) So You Didn’t Have ‘Too’



They say you never wrestle a pig, because you both get dirty and the pig likes it. Similarly, there’s only one thing sillier than being a troll, and that’s arguing with one. So we’re saving you the trouble.

In case you missed it, overnight some State of Origin players refused to sing the national anthem at last night’s game. Cue the national outrage, the white tears, and the sobs that our nation is going to hell in a handbasket.

As you might expect, Channel 7’s Sunrise program was quick out of the blocks this morning to try and whip up a racial frenzy. They weren’t disappointed (indeed they never are).

Behold below Sunrise’s question, replete with ‘scare quotes’ to whip the mob into a frenzy (although admittedly we used some in our headline as well). And below that, our attempt to correct some of the more idiotic ‘factual statements’ advanced by Sunrise viewers.

David Quinn Fact: Australia did not exist before european settlement. a barren wasteland with a couple of hundred thousand people spread out living in the wilderness in separate warring tribes that had not invented buildings, pants or a written language is not a country

Fact: ‘Australia’ did not exist before European settlement, but historians agree about 250 individual nations did. Early explorers describe a landscape that was anything but barren – they wrote of vast planted fields, villages and permanent dwellings across the continent (see Dark Emu). Among many other things, Aboriginal people invented housing (Lake Condah), clothing (they had ‘pants, and cloaks) and fish traps (Brewarrina). They were also the first to cultivate land and harvest crops, and the first astronomers.

Trevor Prangell But. They DID invent the stick ?

There is no evidence Aboriginal people invented the stick. They did, however, invent the wing some tens of thousands of years before the Wright brothers achieved flight (a boomerang is an aerofoil).

Shari Morton Atleast back then there was no pollution

Justin Lionti Shari Morton there were no people around to pollute…I’m not getting your point

The estimated population of the continent at the time of invasion was around 2 million.

Sam Manning Justin Lionti your arrogance astounds me!!! Maybe you need to go back to school and do abstudy class.

Abstudy is not a class – it is a form of social welfare and provides precisely the same benefits as Newstart.

Ivan Finden Chris ward the land never belong to the Aboriginal people they came from other countries as well this has all been proven to be fact. There is also evidence that the Vikings were here long before that

The most recent evidence suggests Aboriginal people were amongst the first to migrate from Africa, and they arrived on this continent up to 120,000 years ago. There is no evidence that Vikings ever visited this continent, nor that they had the capacity to navigate such vast distances by sea.

Alison Munckton Nomads who only Take from the land without ever giving back is hardly proving that you care, just saying😊

Historians and scientists agree that Aboriginal people were not nomadic – they had defined boundaries, and many nations lived a sedentary lifestyle. Scientists also agree that Aboriginal land management practices were a crucial part of preserving the Australian landscape.

Alison Munckton There is a whole lot of Australia that is uninhabited by Whites and listed on maps as being traditional Aboriginal lands. Just how much room do a few thousand people need

The Aboriginal population today is estimated at over 600,000 people. Non-Aboriginal people predominantly live in coastal areas, around major cities and towns. Land handed back to Aboriginal people has predominantly been in remote areas, because Australian courts determined that white ownership of land extinguished black ownership.

Shane Dohnt The big difference is now you can get a barrister to put your case, and that magic word compensation”” comes forefront


Bruce Johnson It depends on definitions, for aboriginals, country means the land. Nation comes from “nat” which means a discrete people group. Like so many things, it is best to understand what people mean by their words before deciding what is needed.

For some Aboriginal people, country simply means country. Nation does not come from the word ‘nat’ and ‘nat’ does not mean a ‘discrete people group’. The word nation came from the Old French word nacion – meaning “birth” (naissance), “place of origin” – which in turn originates from the Latin word natio (nātĭō) literally meaning “birth” (source: Wikipedia).

Geoff Thomas Maybe you better get out of the city and have a look. Most of Australia is a harsh desert

Australia has 10 deserts, which cover about 18 per cent of the total landmass.

Kerry Goodfellow pretty sure us Europeans are the ones that are stuffing up this country whether it be digging it up for things we need/want or by polluting it with our rubbish. The first inhabitants knew how to respect this land

Justin Lionti Kerry Goodfellow and the first inhabitants idea of medicine was eating gum leaves. Sure the country has changed from a landscape point of view but that tends to happen when millions of people are all living together. No regrets, we have looked after this country better than some other counties out there.

Aboriginal people did not eat gum leaves. You’re thinking of koalas. However, Aboriginal people did have a vast array of bush medicines, many of which are now being studied by scientists for their medicinal properties. Australia has one of the worst environmental records on earth, recently acknowledged by a United Nations report into plant and animal extinctions. And it’s possible you mean ‘countries’ not counties, which is a game that five-year-olds play.

Leigh Wilcox with 6000yrs of coming here they destroyed 1000’s of different flora and fauna.

No-one is known to have arrived here 6,000 years ago. The British arrived just over 200 years ago. Aboriginal people arrived over 100,000 years ago, and there’s no evidence they destroyed “1000’s of different flora and fauna”.

Vicki May The nation of Australia IS young and free. We are only 218 years old. By the time we adopted this song EVERYONE was equal under the constitution and had been for 15years. Those who refuse to sing/stand are not Australians.

The nation of Australia is 118 years old – Federation occurred in 1901, not 1801. The national anthem was adopted in 1984, nine years after the Racial Discrimination Act was introduced, not 15. The Australian Constitution still contains racially discriminatory provisions, which has been the subject of ongoing public debate for several decades.

Yvonne Stewart No other Country tries to change there Anthem, there Flag as much as some Australian people. It’s very stupid and unpatriotic as a Country. Grow up Australia and be Proud of us

Australia has not had an official debate about changing its flag or its anthem since 1979, when a plebiscite was held over the anthem. However, other countries routinely debate changing their flag and their anthem. New Zealand debated a flag change in 2015 and again in 2016, with two official referendums. New Zealand also added a second national anthem in 1977 (they have two), and in the 1990s also began singing a Maori version of ‘God defend New Zealand’.

Leanne Ferguson It shouldn’t be changed everytime someone cries, I meant whinges. There’s absolutely no consistency with Australia anymore, I’m telling you, we’re going down hill real fast, and it’s getting faster. For god sake, just keep Australia as it is, it hurts no one, and the past NEEDS to be left in the bloody past, pleeeease. I am so over all this change this change that, lose this lose that, slaps on the wrist and no punishments for crimes anymore, and the list just keeps getting bigger and bigger. We’re losing ourselves, end of story.

The Australian national anthem has not been changed since 1984. It’s not possible to accurately determine how many people ‘cried or whinged’ since then. All Australian states and territories, plus the Commonwealth, have punishments for crimes. ‘A slap on the wrist’ is not included in any Australian crimes act as a punishment. As at June 30, 2018 the Australian Bureau of Statistics records that there were 42,974 prisoners in custody in Australia, the seventh straight year the national prison population has increased.

Erica Torrens I haven’t got a problem If players don’t want to sing our national anthem ! But those same player should not represent NSW or QLD or Australia, instead they could have there own nation or state team

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have never formally ceded sovereignty, and therefore do not accept that their own nation does not already still exist. They have been arguing for their nationhood to be acknowledged for nearly 100 years. Prohibiting people from engaging in commerce or a sporting activity based on their political views would be a breach of the Constitution.

Alyce McDermott Why should we change it just because of a few sports players? How about asking the rest of Australia, not just going by what a few want. What happened to majority rule?

Many Australians have argued over time that the national anthem should change, including conservative Liberal premier Geoff Kennett, National Party senator Sandy Macdonald, former Liberal and parliamentary speaker Peter Slipper, and Labor Party MP Craig Emerson.

Heather Maloney Leave things alone most people in Australia want things left alone . Stop the minority from interfering. Who are theses people who want to change everything. Don’t like our anthem go home

Aboriginal people are Indigenous to Australia. They already are ‘home’.

Martin Id Delina Giljaniz amazing 40 years ago when I arrived in this land, they used to say it was 40000 of indigenous history, so what happened, how can it be, in 40 years we added 20000 years.

It’s called ‘science’. Current indications are that Aboriginal people have lived here at least 120,000 years.

Helen Ebzery I think you will find the majority of Australians voted for this anthem a few years back!

A majority of Australians did not vote for Advance Australia Fair. In the 1977 non-binding plebiscite that preceded the changing of the anthem, 43.29% voted for our current anthem, but it was greater than the three alternatives, “Waltzing Matilda (28.28%), “Song of Australia” (9.65%) and the existing national anthem, “God Save the Queen” (18.78%).

Gary Wright I will say it now and yet again. There is absolutely zero requirements that we sing the national anthem. All we are required to do is to stand. End of story.

There is no requirement to stand during the national anthem. The ‘official protocol’ around the anthem “encourages” people to sing, and notes that it is “customary” to stand. For obvious reasons, you cannot be compelled to sing or stand.

Ruby Judith It is astounding how many people aren’t aware of the extra verses of our anthem. We also have a verse that is not sung because it mentions God. The anthem should be left as it is, because no matter what we choose to be offended by in it, it at least unites us in heart & frustration – regardless of if we choose to sing or not.

The word ‘God’ is not mentioned in any verse of the Australian national anthem. According to the Australian Government, “Traditionally, only the first verse of the Australian National Anthem is used but both verses can be used.”

Lois Eve Arthur I am very proud of our national anthem we are who we are we are a multicultural nation , Keep politics out of sport

The national anthem is not a sport, nor is the debate about changing it.

Theresa J Saun Our past generations and current have fought under this anthem and sports teams and individuals have represented Australia under the words of this anthem, to change it is to shame our respect for their contribution to our freedom and pride. Anyone who wants it changed needs their head read

The current anthem has only been in place since 1984. No ‘previous generation’ has ‘fought under it’ – people fighting in Vietnam, Korea and the First and Second World Wars fought under the previous anthem, God Save The Queen. Also, you can’t ‘shame our respect’. That’s not a thing.

Suzanne Hibbs What happened to the saying, “leave the past in the past and let’s build a better future”, we can’t change the past but we can make a difference in the future. Why is this generation paying for what our ancestors done, we have to stop this and move forward, we can’t continue to live trying to fix the past. I thought that when we changed from “God save the Queen” , that all the people embraced “Advanced Australia Fare”, as the voice for all that lived in our wonderful country

“Leave the past in the past and let’s build a better future” is not a saying. It’s something you made up. The Northern Territory intervention, was committed by ‘this generation’. The Stolen Generation was also created by current generations, as was the Stolen Wages scandal. When the non-binding plebiscite was held to debate a new national anthem, less than 50 per cent of the nation chose Advance Australia ‘Fare’.

Phillip Richter If it changes then they’ll have the the idea to change Australia Day as well then start dissolving everything about Australia that doesn’t fit the leftist world

Australia’s national anthem was last changed in 1984. The debate to change Australia Day began around 1938, with the Day of Mourning (and Australia Day has only been a national holiday since 1994, 10 years after the anthem changed).

Meaghan Dewhurst It doesn’t stop! They want sorry, got it! They want more recognition, got it! Now they want to change the national anthem…. it just doesn’t stop! None of these players protesting are FULL Aboriginal, so they have plenty of white mans blood coursing through their veins… Our great Australia is losing its grip on reality…… Change it to strong & then let’s wait for the next outcry… won’t take long for them to want something else.

Many white people (see above) want to change the anthem too. Aboriginal people did not ‘get recognition’ – that debate (about constitutional recognition) is ongoing. A ‘FULL Aboriginal’ suggests an Aboriginal person who has satiated his or her hunger. It’s unlikely any of the players over-ate before taking the field.

John N Sonya So don’t pay them ,,,,they are playing for Australian .

The ‘State of Origin’ is, as the name implies, a state-based competition. Also, it is illegal to refuse to pay people because of their political views.

Robert Orreal I can’t see how if you refuse to acknowledge the Australian National Anthem, you should then refuse to accept an Australian National Gersey in any sport.

The State of Origin is a state-based competition. ‘Gersey’ is an Australian rock band based in Melbourne. You’re probably thinking of ‘guernsey’, which is a football jumper. Also your sentence contains a double negative, and appears to argue the opposite of what you really mean.

Cleo Olive Insane. To think so many people are against a national anthem that represents REAL UNITY- disgusting.

The national anthem includes the lines ‘For those who’ve come across the seas, We’ve boundless plains to share”. Our policy towards asylum seekers clearly does does not reflect this.

Russell Jackson Waltz sing Matilda should be our national anthem

The title of the song is ‘Waltzing Matilda’.

Peter Gaskin We got this song through a referendum. Enough said

Australia did not ‘get this song’ through a referendum. It was a non-binding plebiscite, and Advance Australia Fair attracted less than 50 per cent of the vote (a referendum requires a majority of voters nationally, plus a majority of states – eg. 4 out of 6 states must have a majority yes vote).

Miranda MC Of course no. It’s Australian anthem. Australia is a young country. Why don’t they write an aboriginal anthem using their own language. It can be sung right after the national anthem at each major event. I am ok with that.

We’re ok with that too. Australian government protocol dictates that when two countries anthems are sung at a single event, the second anthem should be the official Australian anthem. Great idea.

Chris Graham Facebooks here, tweets here, and is available by email here. You can support his work and the work of other New Matilda writers by subscribing here – it starts at just $6 a month.


Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.