• Juduth Durham of The Seekers performs in Canberra (AAP)Source: AAP
One of Australia's leading female performers says she will continue to push for a change to the country's national anthem.
By
Malarndirri McCarthy

5 Nov 2015 - 5:27 PM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2015 - 11:38 AM

Judith Durham, from world-renowned band The Seekers, says she’s right behind Yorta Yorta opera singer and conductor Deborah Cheetham AO's calls to make Advance Australia Fair more inclusive.

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"Without question I would champion it," she said. "For someone who is an original Australian, of heritage of our first Australians, how can she sing [the lyrics] 'for we are young and free'?"

"For someone who is an original Australian, of heritage of our first Australians, how can she sing [the lyrics] 'for we are young and free'?"

Speaking to NITV News in an exclusive interview, Ms Durham said that it wasn't until the 1980s, whe she was living in Queensland, that her world view on first nations peoples began to crystallise through the writings of an American Indian Chief Seattle.

She became influenced by Indigenous people back home including the late poet Oodgeroo Noonucall, Bob Weatherall and Gary Foley.

With a greater knowledge about the issues confronted by Indigenous Australians she was propelled to rewrite the lyrics of the Australian National Anthem in 2009.

"So gradually, gradually my awareness was raised, I was starting to understand that this was a very big subject," she said.

"You can't just take on the lyric of a national anthem without a lot of profound thought and insight, without people helping you and a lot of consultations."

"You can't just take on the lyric of a national anthem without a lot of profound thought and insight, without people helping you and a lot of consultations." 

The collaboration was between Durham and Yorta Yorta man Kutcha Edwards and was performed by Deborah Cheetham.

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Deborah Cheetham urges Australia to embrace its maturity
Yorta Yorta woman and soprano Deborah Cheetham AO is stirring Australia to embrace its maturity following her decision to not perform the Australian National Anthem at the 2015 AFL Grand Final.

In a recent interview with NITV, Ms Cheetham said that Australia was a country that was much more mature than the lyrics of the anthem expressed.  

"I've really come to understand that to sing the word 'young' in relation to our country is really to perpetuate this idea that, of terra nullius really - that everything was built when the British arrived," she said about her decision to refuse an offer to sing the national anthem at the 2015 AFL Grand Final in October.

"Let's talk about that more than 1,000 generations of cumulated wisdom and knowledge. Let's talk about an Australia that can once and for all embrace Indigenous culture as an asset, rather than seeing it as a liability."