Former footballer and television personality Sam Newman has proposed a new plan to address Welcome to Country ceremonies at sporting events in Australia. In a recent appearance on The Opposition Podcast, Newman expressed his frustration with these ceremonies, calling them divisive and insulting. He suggested that instead of Welcome to Country, audiences should sing ‘We Are One’ as a way to unite Australians.
Newman argued that the concept of Welcome to Country is demeaning, especially for someone who has lived in the country their entire life. He believes that being welcomed to a land where he has already paid taxes and contributed to society is unnecessary and redundant. Instead of booing or slow clapping during these ceremonies, Newman proposes that the crowd breaks into the song ‘We Are One’, which is based on The Seekers’ 1987 hit song ‘I am Australian’.
According to Newman, the lyrics of ‘We Are One’, which include phrases like “we are many and from different lands on earth,” are far more unifying and inclusive. He finds the song particularly moving and believes that singing it could be a positive alternative to the current ceremonies, bringing people together instead of dividing them.
Newman’s remarks have sparked discussions about national identity and the role of traditional ceremonies in modern Australia. Some support his idea, seeing it as a way to promote unity and inclusivity. Others, however, argue that Welcome to Country ceremonies are an important part of acknowledging and respecting Indigenous culture and history.
Critics of Newman’s proposal argue that it dismisses the significance of Welcome to Country ceremonies and fails to recognize the ongoing struggles faced by Indigenous communities. They believe that these ceremonies serve as a reminder of the land’s traditional custodians and the need for reconciliation.
The debate surrounding Welcome to Country ceremonies and national identity is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and understanding from all perspectives. While Newman’s suggestion may have good intentions, it’s important to engage in respectful dialogue and work towards solutions that honor Indigenous culture while promoting unity among all Australians.
To watch the full episode of The Opposition Podcast with Sam Newman, click here [hyperlink].