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Unifying Australia: How Changing One Word Changes Everything

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A recent change in Australia’s national anthem honors the indigenous community’s great contributions to this magnificently diverse country. In the original version, the first two lines went as follows: “Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free.” Peter Vickery, founder and chair of the Representation in Anthem Project (RAP), worked with many other indigenous leaders and singers to create more inclusive lyrics, and recommended the new wording “For we are one and free.”

Although Australia’s Indigenous peoples settled in many areas of the continent, they never claimed to “own” the land, believing it to be a gift to be shared by all. Mr. Karl Wickey, an educator at the Muru Mittigar Aboriginal Cultural and Education Center in New South Wales, Australia, explains further. “We only have connection through love, and the way we can show love is through respect. Love comes from the heart. So, when we do these laws, three simple laws: respect each other, respect the animals, and respect the land, (it) gave us a spiritual connection to everything.”

Supreme Master Ching Hai has often praised Indigenous peoples for their deep respect for our Earth and all her inhabitants. In December 2020, our Most Compassionate Supreme Master Ching Hai lovingly accepted a heartfelt invitation by the Honorable Chief Phil Lane Jr., Hereditary Chief of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations, to be a keynote speaker at “Enlightening Our Way Together,” with emphasis on the worldwide adoption of the vegan diet and actualization of Article 15 of the International Treaty to Protect and Restore Mother Earth. Article 15 commits to eliminating factory farming and “protecting Mother Earth from further destruction.” In his letter, Chief Lane, who was inspired by Supreme Master Ching Hai’s messages and Supreme Master Television programs to become vegan, said, “It was clear for me, to fully address Article 15, that I needed to be vegan myself, and ‘Walk my Talk!’”

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