Australian PrehistoryHistory - AustralianAustralian CultureAustralian IdentityCultural Comparisons Between Australia and other CountriesAustralian Citizenship


Testable Core

Australian People

Democratic Beliefs

Government and Law

After the test

Enjoying Australia Day traditions

Permanent Residency

Taking the Citizenship Pledge

Singing the National Anthem

Waving the Australian Flag

Learning Australian English



Land of Liberty

The Australian Citizenship Pledge

From this time forward, under God,*
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey.
* A person may choose whether or not to use the words ‘under God’.

Migrants to Australia who wish to become citizens are required to make a pledge. The purpose of the pledge is to make a public commitment to Australia and accept the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. Ironically, many Australians would be concerned about making the pledge. One concern would be that many Australians think of pledges as an “American” act and their identity as an Australian is largely based on differentiating their perceptions of Australia from their perceptions of America. Other concerns could be found in the pledge itself. Firstly, the pledge references God, which troubles many Australians who value a secular society. Appreciating that some migrants from other cultures also value a secular society, migrants are given the option of being quiet when others in attendance mention God. Secondly, the pledge asks for loyalty to Australian people but many Australians just don’t like other Australians. For example, social commentators like Catherine Deveny have made a career out of weaving caricatures portraying Australians as racist sexist bogans (word referring to Australians suffering some kind of social socialisation inadequacy.) Deveny fans obviously would struggle making a pledge of loyalty to Australians while her critics would struggle to make a pledge demanding loyalty to her.

Andrew Weldon Cartoon

Many Australians don't like other Australians. In the above cartoon, Andrew Weldon creates derogatory caricature of Australians for his Australian readers.

Thirdly, the pledge asks for a commitment to democracy, which many in Australia do not have. For example, Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics the Vice-Chancellor's Chair at Charles Sturt University, has publicly advocated a suspension of the democratic process. The ideological faction that follows Hamilton has a tendency to have highly critical views of the Australian public thus it sees democracy as an impediment to a better society. Thirdly, the pledge asks for citizens to respect Australian laws. This would be a concern to some activists who see the law as an instrument of power for the rich to supress the weak. Definitely in days past, the law in Australia was an arse and it was only via defiance of the law that Australia was able to make the transition from a place where migrants were forced to live to be punished to a place that migrants eagerly sought out for a better life. Whether Australia still needs its law breakers is perhaps something that should be considered on a case by case basis.

Even though many Australian born would not make the pledge or struggle with its contents, it nevertheless creates an ideal that arguably most Australians would like to work towards. In that regards, it would be a useful pledge to make by someone wishing to be part of an Australian community.



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Our Australian Story

What differentiates an Aborigine from a Torres Straight Islander?

The Convict Story


The Depression

Migration and the Snowy Mountains Scheme

Treatment of Aborigines