Harper Nielsen refused to stand out of recognition of the nation’s aboriginal population, she said.
Harper Nielsen has become a target of nationwide condemnation from lawmakers for remaining seated during the Australian national anthem.
She disrespected the troops, one lawmaker said.
Her state senator, who said she was “brainwashed,” offered to give her “a kick up the backside.”
Harper is 9 years old.
She refused to stand out of recognition of the nation’s aboriginal population, she said, suggesting the country does not represent their interests in the same way it does white Australians. Harper was given detention at Kenmore South State School, and her parents said she had been threatened with suspension, though school officials deny the threat.
Harper’s protest is an echo of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling to protest police brutality. He originally sat during the national anthem.
“When it says ‘Advance Australia Fair,’ it means advance the white people,” Harper told 9 News, describing the anthem’s lyrics. “And when it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the indigenous Australians who were here before us for 50,000 years.”
The incident and remarks drew criticism from politicians, including former prime minister Tony Abbott, who suggested it signals “good manners” to stand while the anthem plays.
Australia’s indigenous population of 2 million is plagued with higher unemployment than the general population, a lower life expectancy by a decade and higher…