Politicians, ex-PM slam 9yo Australian child for refusal to stand during ‘racist’ national anthem
Harper, who goes to Kenmore South State School in Queensland, told Nine News that she chose to sit during the national anthem. She was given detention last week over her refusal to join her classmates in standing.
The anthem, Advance Australia Fair, contains a line that goes: “Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free.” According to Harper, “when it says ‘we are young’ it completely ignores the Indigenous Australians who were here before the English.” Using her astonishingly verbose vocabulary for a nine-year-old, Harper told Channel Nine that “it’s basically institutionalised racism.”
The grade 4 student said the decision to take a stand by sitting down was made “mostly” by herself, but she did discuss the subject with her parents, who say they could “not be more proud” of their daughter’s actions.
Despite the girl being only nine years old, some – including even a former prime minister – pulled no punches on the minor.
Controversial right-wing senator Pauline Hanson called for Harper to be “taken out” of 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 to social media on Wednesday.
Doubling down on her rhetoric, Hanson then rounded on Harper’s parents, adding: “This kid is headed down the wrong path and I blame the parents for encouraging this.”
9 YEAR OLD REFUSES TO STAND FOR NATIONAL ANTHEM— Pauline Hanson 🇦🇺 (@PaulineHansonOz) September 12, 2018
"Good on the school for trying to instill the respect for our National anthem and pride in our country." @PaulineHansonOz
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In a later interview with the Courier-Mail, Hanson said that “If it’s good enough for [prominent Indigenous Australians] Cathy Freeman, Johnathon Thurston, and Warren Mundine to stand for the National anthem, it should be good enough for this nine-year-old brat.”
Shame on her parents for using her as a political pawn.Stop the silly protest and stand and sing proudly your National Anthem. Refusing to stand disrespects our country and our veterans. Suspension should follow if she continues to act like a brat #qldpolhttps://t.co/F0StkeBJDa— Jarrod Bleijie (@JarrodBleijieMP) September 12, 2018
Queensland Liberal National politician Jarrod Bleijie echoed Hanson’s sentiments. Bleijie, who is the state’s shadow minister for education, dubbed the Grade 4 student a “brat.”
“Shame on her parents for using her as a political pawn.”
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott also weighed in, telling Sydney radio station 2GB that Harper should “follow the rules,” adding that it is “a sign of good manners and courtesy to stand for the national anthem.”
Unbelievable. You want to assault a 9yr old girl for not complying with your idea of pride? You wore a burqa (you disgusting animal) as a protest. You are the most uneducated, ignorant, disgusting and condescending person ever to grace Australian politics.— Moon (@Dunoonhound) September 12, 2018
If you love our Anthem so much, you must know this line from the second verse “For those who’ve come across the seas We’ve boundless plains to share.” What will you do to free the refugees?— Robert Miller (@Man_Upstairs) September 12, 2018
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. Bleijie also copped scorn over his accusations that the student’s actions were insulting to war veterans.
Our veterans didn't fight for the anthem (or flag). They fought for their friends, family and the rest of us. They fought for PEOPLE. The anthem is supposed to represent us, but when we are divided (mostly due to politicians) it fails, and protest is warranted. #qldpol#auspol— Darren (@DoodyDarren) September 12, 2018
And it’s unlikely that any of the remaining WW2 and Vietnam veterans would worry much about the status of “Advance Australia Fair” given that it only became the national anthem in 1984. When they fought the national anthem was “God save the King/Queen”.— Avril (@DocAvvers) September 12, 2018
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