dffffffff Simon Hughes 0422474444

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS: Taking a stand by taking a seat

AS IF the world isn't hard enough, now there's rules surrounding the national anthem.

Maybe it's like AFLs 'holdin-the-ball' rule, only those who've grown up with the code truly appreciate the complexities of this apparently simple rule, albeit with subtleties that can't be codified, yet we all know when enough is enough.

And like AFL, occasionally the rules need a tweak, so too our national anthem. Or should that be 'National Anthem'?

It's tricky, and if a nine-year-old girl gets suspended or expelled for not standing, it's probably time for a change, either to the words or the rules, or both.

We all accept the little girl's parents have brainwashed her, but that's what parenting is all about. Your Honour, I call to the stand the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and untold gods, sorry 'Gods'. No-one gets expelled for believing in them.

But where do we draw the line and should there be the penalty for not toeing it?

Most people stand for the anthem at sporting matches, but you wouldn't stand for it at home, people would think you were weird or voted for Donald Trump.

You might stand at a concert, but not at a cinema.

Aunty Pauline accused the poor kid of being divisive, which I couldn't stand because I nearly fell over backwards, haha...divisive? Pauline, you have just divided the nation into those who love the recent past and those who know the past extends beyond 1950.

You, and the little girl's school have turned a simple Aussie act of protestation or rebellious larrikinism, that disregard for authority, that true Aussie spirit that supposedly we all love more than vegemite, into a hanging (or at least suspending) offence.

Ned Kelly would turn in his grave.

"For we are young and free...”? Except...and actually, we're pretty old and girt more by laws than sea. "Our land abounds in nature's gifts...” except those we've extincted.

But that's not the point. There's no law against refusing to participate in nationalistic fervour by keeping your seat, and few, apart from Pauline, would stand for changes to that.

Conversely, plenty of people would change the anthem to something more inclusive and reflecting more modern sentiment...hmmm, 'I am Australian' springs to mind.

Who wouldn't spring to their feet upon hearing that?


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