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Updated by lynn-tehee on Nov 27, 2016
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lynn-tehee lynn-tehee
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7 Times Redfern Now Showed Us How The Australian National Anthem Misrepresents Indigenous Australians

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School assembly

School assembly

The school has the tradition of singing the national anthem that they take pride in. It is expected of students to know the lyrics and to sing along. As this scene shows, the whole school is singing the national anthem at the morning assembly. While a close up shot of Joel’s face is showing confusion and maybe he is feeling out of place, as he does not know what is going on.

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Mr Parish questioning Joel

Mr Parish questioning Joel

After being seen by Mrs McCann, the school principal, Mr Parish takes Joel out to question why he wasn’t singing the national anthem. Mr Parish asks, “Do you know what the national anthem is?” Joel gives a slight hesitation and answers with, “It’s a song sung at footy grand finals and cricket games.” Joel is then asked why he wasn’t singing and he replies with “I don’t know the lyrics.” This shows that the national anthem has no significance for Joel even though the song is a nationally recognised song.

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What’d they share?

What’d they share?

Joel is in his room doing his research about the national anthem; his dad comes in and checks up on him. Joel talks about how he has to sing the song every morning at assembly and hands his dad the national anthem. His dad reads the lyrics ‘We've boundless plains to share’ and says, “What’d they share?” The close up shot of his dad’s frown shows that he’s not satisfied with the lyrics. The meaning behind his statement is that white people were not willing to share the land with indigenous people. They had put the indigenous people under the flower and fauna act and yet in the national anthem they are boasting about all the land they have to share.

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I have never stood up for that song.

I have never stood up for that song.

Joel gets dropped off at school and his dad talks to him about his homework last night. His dad asks how he feels about the song and Joel responds by saying he’s unsure. His dad says, “You know what Joel, I have never stood up for that song, not even for the state of origin. It’s not our song, it doesn’t belong to us. You don’t need that stuff to have pride.”

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Joel sitting in assembly

Joel sitting in assembly

This medium shot shows Joel sitting down while all the other students are singing the national anthem. Joel has developed his own beliefs and believes that he should have a right to not stand for a song that does not represent him.

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I’ve never sung a word.

I’ve never sung a word.

Joel gets kept back from assembly again for not singing the national anthem. Mr Parish asks why he wasn’t singing and Joel believes that it doesn’t feel right. Joel has a talk with Mr Moore, the school aboriginal support worker, he tells Joel, “Three years I’ve been standing in this hall with that song and you know what? I’ve never sung a word.” To Joel’s surprise he asks, “So you don’t have to sing it?” Mr Moore says, “My mouth’s moving but I’m not singing, no sound Joel.” This shows that not only Joel believes this song does not represent him, but also to other indigenous people.

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Standing up

Standing up

After Joel being expelled from the school for not singing the national anthem, other students are standing up for Joel by refusing to sing the national anthem. This shows their determination and passion for their beliefs. The students have developed the understanding of individualism. Because of their efforts, Joel was able to come back to school.