Rightwing Australian politicians criticise girl, 9, in row over anthem

14 September, 2018, 11:07 | Author: Myra Gill
  • A nine-year-old schoolgirl in Australia refused to stand for the national anthem to protest alleged institutional racism. File

Discussing Nielsen's objections to the song's lyrics - the Year 4 kid told ABC she believes they do not adequately represent or acknowledge Indigenous Australia - Hanson said "here we have a kid, is being brainwashed, and I'll tell you what: I'd give her a kick up the backside".

Harper Nielsen, who lives in the state of Queensland, told CNN-affiliate Nine News she sat during the her country's national anthem because she believed it was disrespectful to Indigenous Australians.

The Courier-Mail newspaper broke the story about Harper and how the school told her she had to stand or leave the building.

She refused to do either, and therefore she was handed a lunchtime detention for "blatant disrespect".

An outraged Pauline Hanson has called a nine-year-old schoolgirl a "brat" for refusing to stand for the national anthem. (9)"Converse colleges teach out certain requirements of behaviour that they question from their college students in their to blame behaviour thought for varsity students", a spokesperson said.

"I just totally applaud her for taking a stand for what she believes".

Her actions have sparked a contentious debate overnight, with many online praising the nine-year-old for standing up for her beliefs.

Australian politician Pauline Hanson, who has made a career of leaping on controversial issues, labelled Harper "a brat" and took aim at the parents for encouraging "divisive" behaviour.

"The school has been respectful of the student's wishes and has provided other alternatives to singing the national anthem", the statement said.

Mr Bleijie told the Sunshine Coast Daily he felt "sorry" for Harper as he was adamant her parents Mark and Yvette were using her as a "political pawn" to push their view, rather than supporting their daughter's conviction.

"I'm angry about this ..."

"We have talked through those thing with [Harper] and she understands that there's diversity of opinion out there", Mark said on Wednesday.

"When it says "we are young" it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years", she said.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott also weighed in, telling Sydney radio station 2GB that Harper should "follow the rules", adding that it is "a sign of good manners and courtesy to stand for the national anthem".

Jarrod Bleijie, Queensland's shadow minister for education from the centre-right Liberal National Party, also criticised Harper's parents and called their daughter's actions a "silly protest".

Mark Nielsen, Harper's father, told Nine News his daughter was "very courageous", adding he had met with the school's principal but no agreement had been reached.

Though schools were expected to sing it, it was never compulsory, and even the federal government's own protocols do not say it is mandatory to stand for the anthem.

The department denied claims Nielsen is facing suspension of exclusion due to her stance.

Latham pointed out that the school "only exists because of colonisation".


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