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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 2767

Mr MacKELLAR (Warringah) - I want briefly to allude tonight to a matter which is of great interest and concern to an enormous number of Australians. I refer to the frantic search by this Government for what it chooses to call a national anthem. I have before me a Press release from the Prime

Minister (Mr Whitlam) dated 24 October 1973 in which he outlines national anthem poll plans. The report goes on to say:

The Bureau of Census and Statistics, at the request of the Government, is planning a nation-wide opinion poll to establish preference for a new National Anthem.

The poll will be conducted in February next year and people will be asked to make their choice from the three songs already selected by the National Anthem Committee. These are: Advance Australia Fair, Song of Australia, and Waltzing Matilda.

I believe that the Australian Government is perpetrating a gigantic hoax and confidence trick on the Australian people by not including in that poll the present national anthem 'God Save the Queen'. If the poll is conducted as outlined in this Press release the Government will then say that one of those 3 songs is obviously the preference of the Australian people when this could easily not be the case. I believe that an enormous number of people would still prefer 'God Save the Queen' to be Australia's national anthem. It is absolutely vital that they be given the chance to express this view when the poll is conducted. Not to do so is a shabby trick. We are used to this Government pulling shabby tricks but this is something which will have a great number of ramifications for Australian people.

The poll will not reflect the true attitude of the people of Australia and I appeal to the Government to give them a real chance to express their views on what should be their national anthem. This is something which transcends party lines. It is something which people feel personally about and not to give them a full choice in relation to the song which they believe should represent them as the national anthem is selling short the people of this country.

I repeat that it is a shabby trick not to include in the poll the present national anthem because if it is not included the results of the poll cannot truly be said accurately to reflect the will of the Australian people. I do not wish to speak for long on this matter but I do believe that I speak for an enormous number of Australians when I say that if this Government wants truly to find out the will of the Australian people in relation to this important matter - it is an emotional matter and which impinges upon the feelings of all Australians - it should in all conscience give to them the opportunity of a full choice of a national anthem. In February next year when this matter comes before the Australian population the choice should include the present national anthem 'God Save the Queen'. The people of Australia can then express a full and clear choice.

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