The Australian‘s sports editor Wally Mason reckons our gold medal-winning Olympians are just not patriotic enough, as neither Kyle Chalmers nor Mack Horton performed a rendition of Advance Australia Fair while accepting their gold medals to Mason’s satisfaction.
“Meanwhile the athletes of other nations sing their anthems loud and clear, signalling their national and personal pride.”
But we humbly suggest to Mason that there might be a very good reason for our athletes’ reticence to sing out lustily, and that is that our song, well, it sucks. Not every nation can have as rousing an anthem as La Marseillaise, but Advance Australia Fair is a particularly weak choice. Maybe the Parliament should do its actual job and allow a free vote on marriage equality, freeing up the planned $160 million plebiscite to instead ask Australians if they want to change their national anthem.
In the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Bob Carr publicly advocated for Waltzing Matilda to be used for winning athletes. Carr declared it “1000 times more melodious” than Advance Australia Fair and “more likely to make Australians swell with pride or bring a tear to their eyes”. Waltzing Matilda is not necessarily the answer to our lack of anthem inspiration, but surely we can find a tune that brings a tear to the eye and actually inspires our athletes to sing.