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‘She should be courteous’: Tony Abbott on student’s national anthem boycott

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says a Brisbane schoolgirl who’s refusing to stand for the Australian national anthem should be following the rules.

Nine-year-old Harper Nielson has been threatened with suspension after she refused to stand for the national anthem at a school assembly.

She launched her protest on Friday and ignored directions to stand or leave the room.

The Year Four student says our nation’s anthem is disrespectful to Indigenous Australia.

“The reason why I don’t sing it or stand is because – Advance Australia Fair means advance White Australia,” she told the Courier Mail.

She’s been handed a detention for defying instructions and could face suspension over the incident.

The Member for Warringah tells Ben Fordham the school has every right to enforce their own rules.

“I’m not saying that it should be a criminal offence… but I think the school is perfectly entitled to say if you want to come to this school you’ve got to stand for the national anthem.

“If this young lady in question doesn’t want to stand for the national anthem, well maybe she can go and find a school where the national anthem isn’t taken seriously but hopefully there wouldn’t be one.”

Mr Abbott says the young student should “follow the rules” as a matter of courtesy.

“I think she should be courteous to the Australian community more generally which means standing for our national anthem.

“It’s just a sign of good manners and courtesy to stand for the national anthem.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview