9-year-old Aussie girl faces politicians ire over anthem protest

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"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 and I also applaud her strength of character to stand up for what she believes in", Today show host Georgie Gardner said this morning.

"And I have never seen a nine-year-old or anyone around that age stage a political protest with the wording of the national anthem; this is clearly her parents' doing".

"We were all proud of her, her cultural background, the Aboriginality, and the whole fact that she carried the two flags".

But her protest has outraged some, including Ms Hanson, who posted a video response on Facebook describing Harper as "disgraceful".

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.

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".

Prominent politicians have attacked Nielsen and have asked the school to kick her out. And yes, normally this is the place where I'd make a joke about them being a good intellectual match.

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Speaking to Channel 10, she said: "When it says "We are young" it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years".

The politician said the nine-year-old should be suspended if she continued to sit during the anthem.

"Here we have a kid that has been brainwashed and I tell you what, I would give her a kick up the backside".

Harper Nielsen's parents said they were proud of her for the protest, which earned her a detention - and reportedly the threat of suspension from school.

After her story made headlines, Kawana MP Jarrod Bleijie tweeted that Harper was a "brat" and her parents were using the Year 4 students as a "political pawn".

Controversial commentator Mark Latham spoke to 4BC about the matter, saying Harper's silent protest was a "behavioural problem" and she should be kicked out of school, while others blamed her parents for raising a disobedient child.

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the girl should "follow the rules" and that, "it's just a sign of good manners and courtesy to stand for the national anthem".

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'Stop the silly protest and stand and sing proudly your National Anthem.

"Refusing to stand disrespects our country and our veterans".

What do you think about a 9 year old refusing to stand for the National Anthem in school?

Harper's father Mark Nielsen said they had met with the school's principal but they remained at loggerheads.

Irrespective of whether she's acted disrespectfully, any attempt by a grown adult to publicly humiliate her is disgraceful, especially when so much focus has been placed on stopping the same behaviour in our schools.

"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.

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