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‘I respect their right to be dumb’: Indigenous researcher slams national anthem protest

A prominent indigenous researcher has slammed the Origin players who boycotted the national anthem during last week’s match.

The debate about whether our anthem should be updated to include indigenous Australians has ignited again after several players staged a silent protest by refusing to sing Advance Australia Fair.

They say the line “young and free” doesn’t recognise the long history of Australia’s indigenous people.

But Dr Anthony Dillon, a researcher at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University, tells Luke Grant they should be focusing on more important issues, like indigenous suicide rates.

“I respect their right to be dumb, but they need to ask themselves ‘is this going to achieve anything? Or does it just dampen the enthusiasm of White Australia to get on board?’

“Let’s focus on the really tough issues. If you want to close the gap, you’ve got to cut the crap.

“Mainstream Australia love Aboriginal people, they want to see them do well.

“While we’ve got all those good things in place, we’ve also got those bad things in place.

“The distractions: the anthem, Australia Day, all that sort of nonsense which seems to suck up so much more attention.”

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