The protest of a nine-year-old girl in elementary school for indigenous recognition has become a national news story and political football after her school disciplined her for refusing to represent the national anthem during an assembly.
Harper Nielsen of Kenmore South Elementary School in Brisbane was detained at lunchtime on Friday as a result of her protests over the anthem, which she believes is "incorrect" because it does not recognize indigenous culture in Australia.
Their actions received strong criticism from some commentators and Queensland senator Pauline Hanson after they got media attention on Wednesday.
"It says & # 39; Advance Australia Fair & # 39; and when it was originally written, it meant moving forward in Australia for white-skinned people," Harper told SBS News on Wednesday.
"And when he says 'we're young' it means he ignores the indigenous Australians who were here before the English for more than 50,000 years."
Harper said he had chosen to take a public position on the issue at his school "because I feel this is the right thing to do and will help raise awareness about the issue."
While the schoolgirl said the media attention had been strange, the criticism of Senator Hanson and others silenced them. When asked if she was worried, she said: "really no, no".
His father, Mark Nielsen, told SBS News that he and his wife strongly supported their daughter's actions.
"She decided it was something she was passionate about and that's how she decided to deal with that," she said.
"She is a very unique person."
The protest got an extraordinary attack from Senator Hanson, who posted a video on social media that called for the "spoiled" brainwashing to be kicked out of school.
"I would kick him in the back," he said. "This child is headed the wrong way and I blame the parents for it, for encouraging this, No. Take her out of school."
Senator Hanson said that Indian sports stars have been on the winner's podium with the national anthem that was played in the past.
"If it's good enough for Cathy Freeman, Johnathan Thurston and Warren Mundine to represent the national anthem, it should be good enough for this nine-year-old boy," he said.
In a statement, the school said it said it had met with the student and his family to discuss the issue and suggested alternatives.
"The school has been respectful of the student's wishes and has provided other alternatives for singing the national anthem, and state schools establish clear standards of behavior that their students expect in their Responsible Behavior Plan for students," the statement said.
At school, Mrs. Nielsen was told that she could perform the hymn and not sing it, or leave the meeting area while singing. But the confrontation continues when Harper said that school alternatives do not work for her.
"She feels that sitting passively, sitting quietly, is her best way to engender change and consideration about what is happening," her father said.
The attention of the national media after the story on Wednesday morning in the Courier-Mail of Brisbane took the family by surprise, and even before the intervention of Senator Hanson had provoked negative reactions and support for Harper.
"Yes, apparently I am one of the worst parents in the world," Nielsen said, but added that he was not upset about that. "People have the right to their opinion."
The family is not indigenous, but Nielsen said that social justice and indigenous rights are a great topic of conversation during the family dinner.
"I do not want this to be a situation where the school is vilified, that's not fair," he said.
"This is a much broader issue about having a dialogue about what our national anthem is, what words are in it and what they mean to different people." I would like it to be about that, not about a nine-year-old girl with a strong mind. and a school that has to deal with its own set of rules and regulations. "