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Australian Girl Savaged For Sitting During National Anthem

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Australian Girl Savaged For Sitting During National Anthem

A 9-year-old Australian girl who refused to stand up during the national anthem to call out apathy toward the nation's Indigenous population has been panned by leading politicians, who have called for her to be expelled from school.

The girl, Harper Nielsen, who lives in the state of Queensland, said she sat during the country's national anthem because she believed it was disrespectful to Indigenous Australians, reports CNN.

The anthem, titled "Advance Australia Fair," contains the line "Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free."

"(But) when it says Advance Australia Fair, it means advance the white people," the nine-year-old student told CNN affiliate Nine News.

"And when it says 'we are young' it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for 50,000 years."

Australia's Indigenous population represents about 2 percent of the total population, but has a lower life expectancy and twice the infant mortality rate compared to the rest of the population.

I n a video statement posted on social media, controversial right-wing senator Pauline Hanson said that Australian schools were "brainwashing" children and that Nielsen should be "taken out" of her school

Mark Nielsen, Harper's father, told the CNN affiliate that his daughter was "very brave," and added he had met with the school's principal, but no agreement had been reached.

In a statement, the Queensland Department of Education said the school had never suggested Nielsen would be expelled or suspended for her protest during the national anthem.

Image credit: Nine Network Australia