Australia changes its national anthem

Australians woke up to a new year with a new national anthem, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a change to the words on Thursday (December 31).

The song will no longer refer to Australia as "young and free" in an attempt to reflect the country's long indigenous history.

Australia has struggled for decades to reconcile with Aborigines, who arrived on the continent some 50,000 years before British colonists.

Each year, the country has a national holiday marking the date the first fleet sailed from Britain into Sydney in 1788.

Some indigenous people refer to Australia Day as "Invasion Day".

Morrison said the national anthem must be more reflective of the country's diversity:

"Well happy new year Australia, for we are one and free. Our anthem is about us, who we are and who we hope to be as well. We are a strong and vibrant liberal democracy. We live in a timeless land of ancient First Nations peoples, and we draw together the stories of more than 300 national ancestries and language groups."

The idea to change the wording was floated in 2020 by New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian, who said the current wording ignored Australia's "proud First Nations culture".

There is now a renewed focus on Indigenous empowerment amid the Black Lives Matter movement.