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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 4386

Mr DALY (Grayndler) (Minister for Services and Property and Leader of the House) - The honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) has moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, Australia's national anthem should not be changed without a total vote of the Australian people on suggested alternative anthems including 'God Save the Queen'.

He has not spoken in support of that motion today, but he has modified it. He spoke about every Australian of voting age. The motion does not say that. It refers to a total vote of the Australian people. He referred next to those people electorally enrolled. There is nothing in his motion to that effect, if we support this motion today we would be voting to require a total vote of the Australian people to decide the question - that is, every man, woman and child in the country. It means the children, the Aborigines, the criminals in gaols, the persons in mental institutions and members of the Armed Forces at home and abroad. In fact, it means everybody in the community. Although I lack the honourable member's education I know that 'total' means everything.

I will deal later with a number of other matters in regard to the suggested alternatives. I would have liked the honourable member to tell me of any precedents for his suggestion. Those honourable members on the other side of the House who are clamouring for a referendum on this issue, and the honourable member for Petrie (Mr Cooke) who has just spoken, could not give a hang about prices and incomes, but they want to vote on the national anthem. They want to spend $2m of the Australian people's money to have a referendum on an anthem. They said that prices and incomes do not matter and every honourable member sitting opposite voted against every referendum proposal we have brought to the Parliament this year. What a fantasy this motion is. What do they want to save?

They do not even know the origin of the song they are trying to save. This is the origin of 'God Save the Queen': In the song books and hymn books we find the tune of 'God Save the King' ascribed sometimes to John Bull, sometimes to Henry Carey and sometimes to Dr Arne. Other books are wisely non-commital and state simply: 'Source unknown'. One fact is known with precision; the date and occasion of a famous public performance, supposed to be the first public performance of the complete song, one which caused it to leap into popularity. This was on 28 September 1745. It was the year of the second Jacobite rebellion. It was realised that a Jacobite invasion of England was inevitable. So the Whigs, the anti-Jacobites and those who held that George II with all his disadvantages was better for the country than another James, realised that a good song was wanted immediately, a song to steady the popular feeling and to rally the adherents of the House of Hanover. So at first sight it seems that from somewhere suddenly emerged 'God Save the King'. As I mentioned, the origin of both the words and the melody are obscure. Earliest copies of the words appeared in a gentlemen's magazine in 1745. The honourable members who want to sing 'God Save the Queen' never look at the second stanza. If you had a piano, Mr Speaker, I would sing it for the audience. This is how the second stanza goes:

O Lord our God arise

Scatter her enemies, and make them fall:

Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks,

On Thee our hopes we fix: God save us all.

But one early version of the words said: 'Frustrate their Popish tricks'. As a good Catholic I could never tolerate that. Actually those words are a long way from the present words. This is the origin of the song that those gentlemen opposite know nothing about but now seek to impose on Australia for all time, irrespective of the future changes of population.

I mentioned that it has been said that the Government has not consulted the people. With the consent of the House I should like to incorporate in Hansard Press statement No. 76 of 12 April by the Prime Minister on the Australian National Anthem quest. It shows that the Government has consulted the people.

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

On 26 January the Prime Minister announced that the public would be invited to submit entries for the words and music for a new national anthem and that the Australian people would be consulted in the final choice.

As the first stage of this contest, entries are now invited for the words of an anthem. These entries will close on 31 May. Entries may be written without any tune in mind or to the tune of one of the familiar songs which have some claim to being accepted as a national anthem. A selection of texts from among those submitted will be made by a panel of judges and published in a booklet. This will be available to all interested people from the beginning of July.

Members of the public will then be invited to submit the music and words for an anthem. The music may be set to words written by the composer himself or by a collaborator. If the composer prefers his music may be set to one of the texts chosen for the booklet. Details of this second stage of the contest - the calling and judging of music entries - will be announced early in July.

It is anticipated that a panel of judges will choose six or more anthems, from which the public will help make a final choice on or before 26 January 1974. Among these six anthems will be at least two familiar or traditional songs. The Australian Council for the Arts, in consultation with the Australian Government, representatives of the media, the ABC and other interested organisations, will determine the method by which the public's preference will be expressed.

An award of $5,000 will be made to the writer of the words chosen for the national anthem. A similar award will be made to the composer of the music of the anthem, unless the music is that of an already familiar song. Awards of $500 will be made for the words and for the music of any entry selected for the public's consideration.

Entry forms and details of the conditions of entry may be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to: Australian National Anthem Quest, Australian Council for the Arts, PO Box 373, North Sydney, N.S.W. 2060.

A number of people have already submitted entries in consequence of the Prime Minister's announcement of 26 January. Those whose entries have been received by the Australian Council for the Arts will be sent entry forms. Canberra, A.C.T.

Mr DALY - I thank the House. Having said so much, I now get back to the terms of the honourable member's motion. He has suggested that alternative anthems should be considered and put to the Australian people. However, those to be referred to the people have firstly to be decided upon. Who will decide which ones will be submitted to the Australian people? Later I shall give a few examples of songs to which some members of this House probably would subscribe. The ballot paper for such a referendum would be immense if every song proposed were included on it. Suggestions will come from members of this House. If people were required to vote on each proposed anthem an impossible situation would arise. If the anthem were to be selected by referendum, the cost of such a vote would be approximately $2m, and this is on the assumption-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! It now being 2 hours after the time fixed for the meeting of the House, the debate on the motion is interrupted.

Motion (by Mr Daly) agreed to:

That the time for the discussion of notice No. 1 General Business be extended.

Mr DALY - Such a referendum would cost $2m, on the assumption that no pamphlets would need to be printed, as is the case with the referendum on incomes and prices. But surely, if pamphlets had to be issued to list the entries in order, the ballot paper would be mammoth in size. The cost would be tremendous. I think that in many cases, such a ballot paper would not be understood by the Australian people. I ask honourable members: Who will decide what anthems are to be submitted to the people? I ask honourable members to look at the variety of people in this House and variety of views that they hold. I mention some of these songs in a light-hearted vein, but they are most appropriate, and, on top of it all, I am certain that some of these songs would be adopted by some honourable members in this House.

Naturally, every member of this Parliament would have the right to subscribe to an anthem that might be presented. Any honourable member would have the right to propose a serious anthem or a good anthem, as he wished. As I look at members of the Country Party I think that they would get a mammoth vote for the 'Donkey Serenade'. The former Prime Minister might suggest that the song which should be put on the ballot paper is 'Just One More Chance' or, perhaps, "The Impossible Dream'. Members of the Australian Democratic Labor Party would go for the song Matchmaker'. Would not that be a super one?

They might like the song with the words: "There was I waiting at the Church' or something similar. Do not put it past them. These songs would bob up. All kinds of suggestions of this type could be made.

I imagine that my friend, the Treasurer (Mr Crean), might go for 'If I were a Rich Man'. Other songs with similar sentiments might occur to him. The Minister for Northern Development (Dr Patterson) might choose the song with the words 'Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening and sugar at suppertime'. Any of these songs could be suggested as anthems. I am quite certain that the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) would go for 'Superstar'. Without doubt, the honourable member for Moreton (Mr Killen) would get back to 'Gentleman Jim'. Of course, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden) - we have heard how good he is - would have as his favourite 'You must have been a beautiful baby*.

I can imagine the Minister for the Environment and Conservation (Dr Cass) proposing Don't fence me in' as the song that he would like best as a national anthem. Unfortunately Mr Speaker, to whom I wish to direct these remarks, is absent from the Chair at this time. I would imagine that he would advocate If I had a hammer'. I can imagine that the honourable member for Boothby (Mr McLeay) would want 'Stand up and fight until you hear the bell'. Without a doubt, the other former Prime Minister, the right honourable member for Higgins (Mr Gorton) would choose 'I did it my way'. Can honourable members imagine how the honourable member for Wannon (Mr Malcolm Fraser) would like I am the very model of a modern major general'. Would that not appeal to the Australian people? I am sorry that the honourable member for Kooyong (Mr Peacock), who was here a few moments ago, did not stay. I should imagine that his favourite would be 'I am a lonely little petunia in an onion patch'. My slumbering friend opposite, the honourable member for Mackellar (Mr Wentworth), would want 'Red sails in the sunset' or perhaps 'Midnight in Moscow'. Some honourable members, in view of recent events, might prefer the song Roll out the barrel'. I think that, collectively, members of the House might vote for 'The pub with no beeT'. These sorts of suggestions could be made. Where would we be if all these were submitted? And they might be.

All kinds of things can occur in verses. Prominent writers submit all kinds of verses for anthems in this and other countries. Some lyrics have been put forward by Phillip Adams, who is well known to all culture lovers and who is, among other things, a leading light in the Australian Council for the Arts. Recently he wrote an article in which he included some lyrics which were written to a melody which appeals to me greatly and which has endeared itself to people throughout the world; that is' The Wearing of the Green'. This is what he wrote:

I love this ripper country

Full of funnel-webs and sharks! With blowies, big as eagles,

Where yer car gets booked by narks! Where yer team gets trounced each Sat'dy

Where the pubs run out of beer! Where there's redbacks on the toilet seat,

And yer nagged by Germaine Greer! ! ! !

He has written those lyrics to the tune of 'The Wearing of the Green'. That is certainly a commentary on some of the anthems submitted in the national competition. The situation is that for a referendum of this kind suggestions could be made in this Parliament and in other places which would bring all manner of verses to light.

The motion moved by the honourable member for Warringah deserves to be treated with a certain amount of ridicule because it is an impossible proposal embracing, as it does, every man, woman and child voting on every suggestion - good, bad or indifferent - which will be presented to and decided on by the Australian people at tremendous cost. I bring the House back to the fact that we in this Parliament are not rejecting 'God Save the Queen'. It will, I believe, long be sung sincerely by Australians when the Queen is present and on other appropriate occasions. But this nation and its people will, in the future, be acknowledged and saluted by an anthem which is as unmistakably Australian as we ourselves are. The proposal for a new national anthem was clearly enunciated during the pre-election campaign. The action that has been taken is carrying out an unmistakable mandate given by the Australian people. It has been put clearly and concisely.

The proposal put forward today - a half baked proposal - is designed to gain some form of political support for the honourable member for Warringah. It is put forward in a way in which it could not be accepted by the Government. We oppose it, not with any disrespect to Her Majesty or to the anthem but because we believe in a really Australian way of life and we believe in an Australian anthem for the Australian people. I mention again that we are linked with the people of the British Isles by deep and emotional ties. In many instances we share common ancestors. We are inheritors of the same traditions and moral values. We remain their firm friends and allies, as they do to us. This Government has taken action to identify the Queen with this Parliament and the people of Australia in a clear and unequivocal style. She is, for the first time, unmistakable - and by our decision - Queen of Australia. We have heard from Her Majesty's lips the pleasure that this decision has given her. We propose to have an Australian anthem for an Australian people. Irrespective of what the Tories opposite say, I believe that every Australian - man, woman and child - will endorse our action as being appropriate in this age of changing times, advancement and Australian nationhood.

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