The flawed lyrics of Australia's national anthem shows the country still has a long way to go towards reconciliation, according to a Culcairn school principal.
Billabong High School's Kurt Wawszkowicz, speaking at his school's NAIDOC assembly last week, said the words "we are young and free" ignored the history of Aboriginal culture.
"When those lyrics were adopted in 1984, not many people would have even considered them to be problematic, yet today it seems an irrefutable fact that they are," he said.
Picking up the Voice. Treaty. Truth. theme of NAIDOC Week, which ends on Sunday, Mr Wawszkowicz said the truth of Australia's history included the dispossession of Aboriginal people and misguided and unsuccessful government policies.
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"The high rates of poor physical health, mental health problems, addiction, incarceration, domestic violence, self-harm and suicide in Indigenous communities throughout Australia are directly linked to experiences of intergenerational trauma," he said.
"But this was not the 'truth' that I was taught as a child growing up in the 1980s."
The principal noted present students learned more about Aboriginal culture.
"Hopefully they, and all the children and students here today, will witness significant events on our national journey of reconciliation, that foster increased pride in our country's rich history and future," he said.
"Hopefully our children will grow up in a country where the word 'we' refers to all Australians, and where we are all proud to share a culture that stretches back for almost 1000 centuries."
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