Rapper Briggs. Picture: Supplied
Rapper Briggs. Picture: Supplied

Rapper: why Aussie anthem ‘sucks’

A number of football players, some Aboriginal and some not, refused to sing Australia's national anthem at the first game of the State of Origin rugby league series tonight.

Tonight on the The Weekly, indigenous rapper Briggs sent a powerful response to the NRL players choosing not to sing the National Anthem and explained why the song "sucks".

In the segment Briggs, who also performed at Suncorp Stadium ahead of the game tonight, explained why the anthem was problematic.

"Advance Australia Fair has been the national anthem for 35 years, which white people think is a really long time," Briggs began.

Running through each line of the anthem, Briggs took issue with: "For we are young and free".

"Now, since all children in Northern Territory detention are Aboriginal and we are the most incarcerated people on Earth, we don't feel particularly free. And as for young, we've been here for 80,000 years but I guess we don't look a day over 60,000," Briggs said.

Briggs also took issue with the wealth line in the anthem.

"We don't see much of that wealth. Only one in 10 of us are financially secure," he said.

Briggs then lashed the line that reads: "Our land abounds in nature's gifts".

"You see that just reminds us that our land was our land before our home was girt by you lot," he said.

In the second verse, Briggs joked about the Southern Cross line, shouting "tattoos".

"For those who've come across the seas," the anthem goes.

"All of you," Briggs cut in.

"We've boundless plains to share," the anthem continued.

"Hold up there, sharing? We can't even share our opinion about a song without the whole country freaking out so that's when it's played, some of us don't feel like standing up or singing along," Briggs said.

"The song sucks," he ended.

 

The Blues stand together for the national anthem. Picture: Cameron Spencer
The Blues stand together for the national anthem. Picture: Cameron Spencer

 

Two NSW players and one from Queensland confirmed they would be making a silent, respectful protest when Advance Australia Fair preceded the opening match in Brisbane tonight.

The number of players who decided not to sing ended up being many more.

Debutant Cody Walker said the century-old song does not represent him or his family.

"I'm not pushing my view on anyone, it's just how me and my family have grown up and how I feel," Walker told reporters.

 

Cody Walker explained why he would not be singing the national anthem. Picture: Mark Metcalfe
Cody Walker explained why he would not be singing the national anthem. Picture: Mark Metcalfe

Teammate Josh Addo-Carr plans to follow suit.

Queensland's Will Chambers hoped their actions will bring wider attention to an anthem many consider does not reflect the country's indigenous heritage.

"It doesn't represent us," said Chambers.

"If enough of us stand by and not sing, maybe one day there will be change and that's all we can hope for."

Reports said they had the support of teammates, coaches, and the National Rugby League.

Several players did not sing the anthem when the Australian indigenous All-Stars met the New Zealand Maori Kiwis in Melbourne this year.

The song was written in 1878 and became the official national anthem in 1984.

Its description of a "young and free" country rests uneasily with Aboriginal Australians who have inherited the world's oldest continuous culture, but have struggled with centuries of oppression since European colonisation.