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Culture is Life Make the Case to Change The Date

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Culture is Life, a not-for-profit working to reduce self-harm and suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, releases ‘Something On My Mind‘ music video as part of IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE – a campaign that asks all Australians to have a think about the impact of Australia Day on our young people and their families.

Written by Nhunggabarra, Kooma, Muruwari man Glenn Skuthorpe in collaboration with Wemba Wemba, Mutti Mutti and Yorta Yorta woman Jedda Costa and Djugun man Louis Mokak and accompanied by Wergaia woman and emerging singer-songwriter Alice Skye, the song was produced by Katie Symes and engineered by Colin Wynne at Thirty Mills Studios. The release also features a music video filmed at Aviary Studios in Collingwood by James Arneman of Sunlander Films.

With five highly-regarded albums to his name and music featured in documentaries such as John Pilger’s Utopia, international touring singer-songwriter Glenn Skuthorpe grew up with a guitar in hand on the Aboriginal reserve at Goodooga in NSW: “My musical journey started out when I was a kid, sitting around the campfire with the old people playing guitars and sharing songs and stories. That’s how we learnt about our country and our culture, from the old people .”

Glenn collaborated with talented young leaders Jedda Costa and Louis Mokak to write about their personal experiences and challenges faced as young Aboriginal people walking between two worlds. The result is a highly emotive and evocative track with each artist singing two verses woven together with themes of connecting deeply to country, strengthening culture and a unified approach that cares for all Australians.

Culture Squad Ambassador Louis Mokak says of the experience: “Music brings grounding and strength within me. When I sing, I sing for the spirits and the Ancestors. This song is about our own personal journeys and the importance that connection to culture has on our people for healing. Let’s stand together and keep carrying that strong spirit forward.”

Culture is Life CEO and Wotjobaluk woman Belinda Duarte said the decision to release the song in the wake of January 26 celebrations came about because the organisation is committed to an ongoing campaign that asks all Australians to consider an alternative date: “As a nation we need urgently to ask ourselves, how can we support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to thrive? We know some answers lie in strengthening their connections to culture, community and history. Our young people and their families witness parties on January 26 as celebrating the crushing of their people and culture. The day for us is about remembering our ancestors and families. The music video release in the wake of January 26 is about celebrating our peoples’ strength of knowledge and resilience. With culture as a foundation, we know we won’t walk alone.”


The campaign includes conversations and reflections between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young Australians about how they feel about Australia Day.

‘Something On My Mind’ was publicly launched at Songlines Balit Narrun Festival at Treasury Gardens in Melbourne Victoria on January 26 and is due for online launch today. 

Join the campaign at @cultureislife #itstimeforchange #cultureislife 

If you need help or support, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 (24 hours-a-day) or contact your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation. If you have questions for the Australian Human Rights Commission contact the National Information line on 1300 656 419 or 02 9284 9888.