Some members of a football team made up of Australian Aborigines refused to sing the Australian national anthem before a match against a New Zealand Maori team
The Australian national anthem was deliberately scrubbed of anything that might offend at the time of its adoption but whiners will always find something to whine about.
One wonders why it matters what Aboriginal sportspeople do. Aborigines are undoubtedly losers in Australian society so it is perfectly reasonable for them not to feel part of our national community. Let them sing something else.
There is a deliberately inclusive and quite popular Australian song called "We are Australians". That should be a reasonable alternative to the national anthem if one is needed
I don't think much of that song myself. It treats white settlement as a continuation of Aboriginal occupancy, which is both very poor history and very poor ethnography
NRL legend Mal Meninga has backed the Indigenous players who refused to sing the Australian national anthem in the lead up to the NRL All Stars game.
As 'Advance Australia Fair' was played during the pre-game at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday night, more than half the of the side snubbed the anthem.
Meninga has since taken the controversy up a notch and put out a call for the anthem to be changed.
'We've had the national Sorry Day so Australians — all Australians — are very aware of our national history, maybe more aware than they were before. So we can have a national debate and let the people of Australia have their say.
'If we have a national anthem that offends our Indigenous people, let's see what all of Australia thinks.'
The NRL also copped criticism for choosing to play the national anthem in the lead up to the match in light of heavy criticism from NRL great Anthony Mundine.
'The anthem was written in late 1700s where blackfullas (sic) were considered fauna (animals) Advance Australia Fair as in white not fair as in fair go,' Mundine wrote on Facebook.
'All players aboriginal & non aboriginal should boycott the anthem & start changing Australia's ignorant mentality … lets move forward together yo.'
Indigenous skipper Cody Walker said post-match that he wasn't comfortable with a version of the Australian anthem being played at the game.
'To be honest no (it shouldn't be played) – it just brings back so many memories from what's happened and I think everyone in Australia needs to get together and work something out,' he said. 'It doesn't represent me and my family.'
The strong opposition to the national anthem divided those watching on TV at home, with plenty taking to social media to have their say on the stance.
'Reconciliation is a two way street... (but) I didn't see one aboriginal sing the national anthem,' one man commented.
'Pretty disappointed to see most of the Australian Indigenous team not sing our national anthem. The Maori boys sang theirs,' another said.
But while some disagreed with the stance, others claimed it was inappropriate to be playing the national anthem at a game involving two indigenous sides.
'Why on earth would you sing the commonwealth-based Aussie anthem in an Indigenous game?' one woman wrote on Twitter.
But just minutes after more than half the team had refused to sing the anthem, they united on the AAMI Stadium turf for a war dance.
Led by their 21-year-old star Mitchell, the players performed the impressive dance to cheers from the local crowd.
By contrast the majority of the Maori All Stars team sung the whole of New Zealand's national anthem, which includes a Maori verse.
The Indigenous All Stars defeated the Maori All Stars 34-14 in front of 18,000 fans.