Australian Politicians Slam 9-Year-Old For Protesting National Anthem

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2018

As a schoolgirl who stayed seated during the national anthem, I'm behind Harper Nielsen - the Brisbane nine-year-old who's being criticised for her "defiant" behaviour not standing for Advance Australia Fair.

Harper Nielsen, a student at Kenmore South State School in Brisbane, said that she made a decision to protest against the national anthem, saying it was not inclusive of indigenous Australians, reported on Wednesday.

"It says "Advance Australia Fair" and when it was originally written it meant advance Australia for white skin people", she told SBS News.

"And when it says 'we are young" it completely disregards the indigenous Australians who were here before us for 50,000 years".

"We're talking about a child who has no idea about history -what we should do and what we need to do to pull everyone together, regardless of their cultural backgrounds - we are all Australians", she said.

She took to social media to express her outrage - and blame Harper's parents.

Otherwise we will be left with the consequences of a generation highly knowledgeable of historical facts, with little to no respect for how we as a nation have handled them.

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

Australia is in the midst of its own roiling national anthem debate, but this one was sparked not by a professional athlete but a 9-year-old girl.

However, in a video posted on Facebook, Senator Pauline Hanson rejected the nine-year-old's views, saying "here we have a kid being brainwashed". Refusing to stand disrespects our country and our veterans.

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That cartoon, like Harper's protest, further revealed a historic and racially tinged battle line in the country's culture wars.

"I think she's a very courageous young person who is really showing what you can achieve by taking a stand in something that you believe is right", he said. "That's kind of really all there was to it, and she took it from there". "And I'll tell you what, I'd give her a kick up the backside".

But she slammed Opposition frontbencher Jarrod Bleijie's tweet calling Harper a brat.

On Wednesday, Nielsen's father, Mark, told ABC radio: "She's shown incredible bravery in wanting to stick to what she believes in and to make a stance for what she believes is right".

Shock jock Alan Jones and controversial commentator Mark Latham said Harper was "defying the school".

"What on earth do you do ... other than call the parents in and say 'listen, these are the rules here, if you don't like them you do as we say or go somewhere else because we're not accommodating you".

The school has offered Harper to leave the school hall while the anthem is being played.

Watson also praised her parents for raising "a very bright and vivacious young woman".

Harper Nielsen staged a peaceful protest and refused to sing the national anthem.

The school said if any parents have concerns, they are encouraged to contact the principal.

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