Koala’s controversial call to change Aussie song
Exclusive: Online furniture and bedding company Koala's move to change the lyrics of an iconic Australian song has been described as "woke tomfoolery".
Koala, which recently announced it was moving manufacturing offshore to China, has launched an online campaign calling on customers to rewrite the lines to the classic 'Home Among The Gum Trees'.
High-profile stars including Australian cricketer Steve Smith, former AFLW star Moana Hope and comedian Gen Fricker are backing the controversial marketing push.
In a blog post, Koala stated: "Every Australian deserves to feel comfortable in the place they call home. But we as a nation, as a community, as a people, can always do better to ensure that no matter who you love, where you come from or what you believe in, you feel comfortable living in Australia."
Australia's Institute of Public Affairs' Director of Policy, Gideon Rozner, criticised the move, saying: "Rather than meaningless gimmicks about 'inclusivity', Koala's PR efforts might be better suited to arguing for economic reform that would make it commercially viable to move its manufacturing operations back to Australia from China.
"Australians want jobs, not more woke tomfoolery from corporate Australia."
Smith, whose $100,000 investment in Koala five years ago is now worth more than $13-million - reportedly more than he has ever made from cricket - told News Corp his new lyrics would "probably be about family, cricket and the patch of grass we call home".
"I am excited to support Koala in celebrating the variety of homes in Australia and rewriting an Aussie classic," he said from Dubai where he is playing in the Indian Premier League.
"I have been refining my guitar skills, so writing a song does seem like a next logical step.
"Home has always been about family and friends for me and this year has shown that more than ever.
"For me I found different places in the home to do batting drills, setting up the home gym and getting super fit and even spending time learning the guitar which I have really enjoyed."
Hope told News Corp that she would change the lyric to be about the "important people in her life".
She and model wife Isabella Carlstrom are just weeks away from becoming parents to their first baby.
"We've been pregnant the whole time during COVID and the lockdown and I'm still finalising my lyrics but it will have everything in my household," she said.
"I'm happy to be involved in this campaign as I grew up in a house of love and I focus more on how my house looks on the inside … growing up, I never knew what a nursery really was until now, and we've been setting it up."
A Koala spokesperson said it sought permission from Mushroom Records to access the song first written by Wally Johnson and Bob Brown (aka Captain Rock) in 1974.
The song was first recorded in 1975 on the Captain Rock album Buried Treasure.
"We've commercially aligned with the song's original writers, Bob Brown and the late Wally Johnson's family, who are also heavily involved in the campaign, working with Mushroom Records to acquire the rights to rewrite the song to reflect the way we all live in modern-day Australia," Koala said in a statement.
Australian singer John Williamson AM later recorded the song.
It also became the theme song to the once popular gardening show, Burke's Backyard.
From today, people can go online to changeourtune.com and enter their own lyric, before a new track is released next month.
Originally published as Koala's controversial call to change Aussie song