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9-year-old Australian girl faces politicians' ire over anthem protest

IANS  |  Canberra 

A nine-year-old girl in is facing the ire of the country's prominent politicians, calling for her suspension from school, after she refused to stand during the "out of respect for the nation's Indigenous population".

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

The anthem, titled "Advance Fair", contains the line "Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free".

"(But) when it says Advance Fair, it means advance the white people," the girl student told CNN-affiliate Nine News.

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

According to newspaper, the school told the girl that she had to stand or leave the building. But when she refused to do either, she was handed a lunchtime detention for "blatant disrespect".

Nielsen was then told that she could not leave until she had signed a written apology and that she could be suspended.

Controversial right-wing said Australian schools were "brainwashing" children and called for Nielsen to be "taken out" of her school.

"It's about who we are as a nation, it's part of us ... Here we have a kid who's been brainwashed and I'll tell you what, I'd give her a kick up the backside," she said in a video posted on on Wednesday.

"This kid is headed down the wrong path and I blame the parents for encouraging this."

Former Australian said the girl should "follow the rules".

Jarrod Bleijie, the state's for Education, called Nielsen a "brat". He said that the girl should be suspended if she continued to sit during the anthem.

The girl's father, Mark Nielsen, said his daughter was "very brave", adding he had met with the school's principal but no agreement had been reached.

In a statement, the Department of Education said the school had never suggested Nielsen would be expelled or suspended for refusing to stand during the anthem.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, September 12 2018. 16:52 IST