Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is not opposed to a word change in the national anthem as supported by Cathy Freeman, but says there is a lot more Australians should be worried about in the name of reconciliation.
Sporting legend and one of Australia’s most respected indigenous voices Cathy Freeman has supported the idea of changing a word in Advance Australia Fair.
In the first verse, “we are young and free” would become “we are one and free.”
“I’m not opposed to it … if that provides comfort to people,” Dutton told 2GB on Thursday.
He said Cathy Freeman was one of the “greatest Australians” and was not given enough recognition for what she had done helping indigenous kids in her post-sporting career.
“I really think that should be recognised and I think her views should be respected,” he said.
He said he would much prefer the focus to be on how to improve the lives of indigenous kids.
“There are boys and girls who are being sexually assaulted in Aboriginal communities today,” Dutton said.
“I just think there is a lot more to do and there’s a lot more that we can do as a country.”
Freeman became the first indigenous athlete to win individual gold when she triumphed in the 400 metre at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
She established the Cathy Freeman Foundation in 2007 to help indigenous children and their families.
By Colin Brinsden