Oath of Allegiance (Australia)

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In Australia, an Oath of Allegiance or an Affirmation of Allegiance are oaths of allegiance required to be made to the monarch of Australia in some situations. Oaths of Allegiance are usually made on a Bible, or some other book holy to the person, such as a Koran; but the person may opt to make an affirmation in lieu of an oath.

Oath of Allegiance[edit]

All members of the Australian Parliament are required to make, before taking their seat in Parliament, an oath or affirmation of allegiance before the Governor-General of Australia. The requirement to take the oath is set out in section 42 of the Australian Constitution[1] and the wording of the oath and affirmation are set out in a schedule to the constitution.[1] The oath is:

I, A.B., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law. So help me God!

The affirmation is:

I, A.B., do solemnly and sincerely affirm and declare that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law.

(As per the schedule in the constitution, the words "Her" and "Queen Victoria" are substituted as required with the pronoun and name of the reigning monarch.)

Oath of Office[edit]

Upon taking office, the Governor-General-designate of Australia is required to take the above Oath of Allegiance as well as a separate Oath of Office. These oaths are administered by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, the President of the Australian Senate and the Chief Justice of Australia to the governor-general.[2]

I, (name), do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her heirs and successors according to law, in the office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of the Commonwealth of Australia, without fear or favour, affection or ill will. So help me God![3]

In addition to swearing the Oath of Allegiance upon becoming a Member of Parliament, the prime minister, ministers and parliamentary secretaries also recite an Oath of Office upon entering office. The wording of this oath is not prescribed within the constitution and is ultimately determined by the prime minister of the day. Traditionally, the oath has repeated the swearing of allegiance to the sovereign, although this is not required.[4] The current Oath of Office is:

I, (name), do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia in the office of (position) and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia. So help me God![5]

Armed forces[edit]

The oath taken by a member of the navy, army or air force is:[6]

I, (name), swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, as a member of the (insert Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Australian Air Force ) ... and that I will resist her enemies and faithfully discharge my duty according to law. SO HELP ME GOD!

The affirmation:

I, (name), promise that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law, as a member of the (insert Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Australian Air Force ) ... and that I will resist Her enemies and faithfully discharge my duty according to law.

Pledge of Commitment for citizenship[edit]

The wording of the Oath of Allegiance taken by newly naturalising Australian citizens has changed over time. In 1973, the oath's wording was:

I, A. B., renouncing all other allegiance, swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.

However, Australia never required new citizens to formally renounce their former citizenship under the law of that country. An equivalent wording was available in the form of a non-religious affirmation for those who preferred. In 1986, the Hawke Government changed the wording to:

I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Australia, Her heirs and successors according to law, and that I will faithfully observe the laws of Australia and fulfil my duties as an Australian citizen.

In 1994, the Keating Government replaced the oath with a Pledge of Commitment to Australia:[7]

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.

The prospective citizen has the option of making the pledge with or without the words "under God".

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act. Commonwealth of Australia. 1900. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Oath of Office". Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "Oaths and affirmations made by the executive and members of federal parliament since 1901". Parliament of Australia. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "PM Abbott sworn in on royal oath". Irish Echo. 18 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  6. ^ DEFENCE (PERSONNEL) REGULATIONS 2002 - SCHEDULE 2
  7. ^ See section 27 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 and Schedule 1