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9-Year-Old Australian Girl Faces Ire Over Anthem Protest

15 September, 2018, 12:56 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Harper Nielsen staged a peaceful protest and refused to sing the national anthem

After news broke of the year four student, Harper Nielsen, refusing to stand and sing the Australian national anthem at her school assembly, the condemnation was swift.

Primary school student Harper Nielsen was given a lunch time detention on Friday for peacefully protesting against the song she said is "wrong".

"When it was originally written, Advance Australia Fair meant to advance the white people of Australia", she told national broadcaster ABC after the incident was reported by local media on Wednesday.

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

"It's about who we are as a nation", she said.

While I agree that Harper's anthem boycott may have been largely in part due to conversations with her parents and a result of her upbringing, the truth of the matter is that Harper's courage should be admired.

"Suspension should follow if she continues to act like a brat #qldpol".

In her only television interview to air on Channel 9 tonight, Harper Nielsen told 9NEWS she believed the anthem is disrespectful to indigenous Australians.

But others have been less supportive, including Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson who labeled the schoolgirl a "brat" who needs "a good kick up the backside".

Jehovah's Witnesses don't stand for the national anthem or acknowledge days of remembrance because, put simply, they don't believe in showing allegiance to your country instead of Jehovah (God). In a video uploaded to Facebook, Ms Hanson claimed Harper had been brainwashed.

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Nielsen too is a hero and, thankfully, she has many people speaking out in her defence.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday insisted it was a matter for the school, the student and her parents to solve.

"The schools have rules, I'm exacerbated by this this morning so if you don't like that as a parent, if you don't like that your child will have to stand for the anthem then go somewhere else".

Queensland Sen. Pauline Hanson, a far right nationalist politician who represents Harper's state, has always been critical of extending resources to indigenous Australians.

"We were surprised behavior such as a passive nonparticipation might be considered in the same realm as something like bringing a knife to school or being violent toward others", Miller said.

Asked how she felt about the option given to her by the school to leave the room when the anthem was played, Harper said "I don't think I should be made to leave the room or do something different because I have different beliefs".

"Kenmore South State School is an inclusive and tolerant school which supports the diverse points of view of all students and families", the department's statement said.

Brisbane Aboriginal community elder Sam Watson said Harper's parents should be congratulated.

"She's shown incredible bravery in wanting to stick to what she believes in. and I couldn't be prouder of her", Harper's father Mark Nielsen told the ABC.

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