Pauline Hanson Calls Schoolgirl Protesting National Anthem A 'Brat'
Pauline Hanson is furious and is calling for the girl to be kicked out of school.
A Year Four student has been threatened with suspension after refusing to stand for Australia's national anthem, which she believes is not inclusive of all Australians.
Harper Nielsen, a student at Kenmore South State School in Queensland, was given detention after she decided to protest during assembly by refusing to stand for Advance Australia Fair.
The nine-year-old said she believed the lyrics "we are young and free" disregards Indigenous Australians who had lived on the land for tens of thousands of years.
"The reason why I don't sing it or stand is because Advance Australia Fair means advance White Australia," she told the Courier-Mail.
"When it says we are young it completely ignores the fact Indigenous culture was here for over 50,000 years before colonisation."
One Nation senator Pauline Hanson was incensed by the demonstration, calling Nielsen a "brat" who "needs a kick up the backside."
"In this case the school is being very good and saying OK you don't need to stay here you can leave the hall, and she's refusing not to. So is she a brat? Yes she is a brat" Hanson said.
"And a lot of people my age and perhaps even younger would think she needs a good kick up the backside."
Upon refusing to stand, Nielsen was reportedly handed a lunchtime detention for "blatant disrespect" and told she could not leave the office until she had signed a written apology.
"I felt like they were trying to take my power away and that made me feel a bit upset because everything that I fight for is for equality and for equal power for everyone," Harper told ABC radio on Wednesday.
Despite the punishment and threat of suspension, Nielsen's father Mark Nielsen-- an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland-- said he is not only standing by his daughter's decision but is proud she had made a stance for what she believed in.
"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", he told ABC radio. "We couldn't be more proud of her for wanting to do this."
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told Ten Eyewitness News Kenmore South State School had met with Nielsen and her family to discuss the issue.
"The school has been respectful of the student's wishes and has provided other alternatives to singing the national anthem," the statement said.
"State schools set out clear standards of behaviour that they expect from their students in their Responsible Behaviour Plan for Students."
Nielsen's protest has sparked a contentious debate, with many on social media supporting the young girl's right to take a stance for her beliefs.
Shock jock Alan Jones and commentator Mark Latham were furious about Nielsen's decision while speaking on 4BC radio on Wednesday.
"We used to have special schools for children with behaviour problems," Latham said. "Not standing is a behavioural problem, so kick her out."
Jones was incensed at what he interpreted as defiance against the young girl's 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," he said.
Following the criticism, Professor Nielsen said his daughter's decision is not "someone just saying they don't want to go to math class."
"This is just a very specific isolated incident for which there are sound, thoughtful reasons behind that, that have to do with human rights."
Nielsen's anthem protest comes shortly after heated debate broke out in the US over Nike's decision to feature former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepnernick in their most recent advertising campaign.
Kaepernick famously became a leading voice in the fight for racial equality after he began kneeling during the national anthem before games in protest of police brutality
Featured image: Getty
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