'Kick up the backside': schoolgirl slammed over anthem protest

Lamar Ellis
September 14, 2018

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

Pauline Hanson, who made a name for herself espousing extreme anti-immigration and anti-refugee views, was slammed on Twitter over her comments on Harper's protest.

"Her parents are obviously supporting her and I think that's the big problem here, her parents are supporting her in a way that I don't think is appropriate", Stefanovic said.

In a statement, the Queensland Department of Education and Training said Kenmore South has been in contact with Nielsen's parents, adding the school allows students who do not wish to sing the anthem to stand outside the hall.

"I do applaud her for considering the words of the national anthem, a lot of people just rattle it off and don't consider the meaning", she said.

Harper said she had chosen to take a public stand on the issue at her school "because I feel that this is the right thing to do and it will help raise awareness for the issue".

Why can't we be more like New Zealand, a country that has embraced its indigenous Māori culture which is proudly celebrated as an important part of its history?

Her mother Yvette Miller said she was taken aback by the school's response.

"This is divisive, I don't know what the other kids around her are thinking, where is this coming from?"

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

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'We were all proud of her, her cultural background, the Aboriginality, and the whole fact that she carried the two flags. This kid is headed down the inappropriate course...select her out of the college."I present you what, I'd give her a kick up the backside."Alternatively, psychologist Susan De Campo told A Most up-to-date Affair the topic had been "blown out of share".The college has offered Harper the amount of leaving the college corridor while the anthem is being carried out".

While her parents have defended their daughter, the year four student was reportedly given detention by her school and later told that in the future she could either leave the building during the anthem or stand without singing.

Queensland senator Pauline Hanson said Harper should be pulled out of school.

"I'm angry about this ..."

In Queensland, shadow education minister Jarrod Bleijie had the same name for Harper, accusing her parents of using her as a "political pawn".

Harper was handed a school detention over her peaceful protest, with critics claiming she showed a lack of respect for not only the rules of her school, but of her country of origin.

"Rosa Parks refused to go to the back of the bus and Martin Luther King said "when that woman sat down I stood up", he said.

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 earlier reports that Harper faced suspension or expulsion for her protest.

But Nielsen's father, Mark Nielsen, said his daughter was "very brave" for her protest.

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