- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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.

It all started when Brisbane grade-schooler Harper Nielsen refused to stand for the singing of the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair,” the Aussie news site News.com.aureported Wednesday. Harper’s protest was in light of her belief that the song doesn’t do justice to the contributions of the aboriginal peoples of Australia.

After Harper’s actions were disciplined with detention, her protest made a splash on talk radio — where one radio host urged her school to “kick her out” — and eventually received the notice and condemnation of politician Pauline Hanson, News.com.au said.

“Here we have a kid who is being brainwashed, and I’d tell you what, I’d give her a kick up the backside,” said Ms. Hanson, who leads the populist One Nation party, News.com.au reported.

“I’ve been fighting for 22 years for equality for everyone, to be inclusive. What the hell is going on? I’m angry about this because I’m proud of this country.

“This is divisive, I don’t know what the other kids around her are thinking, where is this coming from?” Ms. Hanson asked her Facebook followers, according to News.com.au.

“This kid is headed down the wrong path and I blame her parents for encouraging this, no, take her out of the school.”

Moving forward, school officials are now giving Harper two options, the BBC reported Tuesday, citing Queensland state education officials: Either she stands in the hallway outside the classroom during the singing of the anthem, or she can decline to sing the song but stand out of respect.

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