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. Note that this oath is not the same as the Australian Citizenship Pledge which is required to be made when being naturalized as an Australian citizen.

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 the Schedule to the Constitution. The oath is:

I, A.B., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, 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 Queen Elizabeth, Her heirs and successors according to law.

"A.B." is to be substituted with the name of the person swearing or affirming, and the reference to Queen Elizabeth is to be substituted with the name of the current monarch of Australia.

Oath of Office[edit]

Upon taking office, a Governor-General designate is required to take the above Oath of Allegiance as well as a separate Oath of Office, in the presence of the Chief Justice or another Justice of the High Court.[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 Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Royal 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 Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army , or Royal Australian Air Force ) ... and that I will resist Her enemies and faithfully discharge my duty according to law.

Australian citizenship[edit]

Pledge of Commitment for citizenship[edit]

The wording of the Oath of Allegiance taken by newly naturalising Australian citizens has changed over time. Australian nationality was created by the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948, which came into effect on 26 January 1949. British subjects could become Australian citizens after one year's residence in Australia as an immigrant by registration, and there was no requirement to attend a citizenship ceremony or take an oath of allegiance. Non-British subjects, on the other hand, were required to apply for naturalization, which had stricter requirements, including a five-year residency. They were required to attend a citizenship ceremony and swear an oath of allegiance, which was:

I, A. B; swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George the Sixth, his 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 1966, the Holt Government added the clause "renouncing all other allegiance" to the oath,[7] though there was no requirement for new citizens to formally take steps under the law of their former country to renounce the previous citizenship. In 1973, the Whitlam Government ended the preferential treatment for British subjects from 1 December 1973 and inserted a reference to the "Queen of Australia",[8] to become:

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.

In 1986, the Hawke Government removed the renunciation requirement and the requirement for candidates to state their names, the wording becoming:

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 and removed the reference to the Crown:[9]

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".

There have been no changes since.[7]

Australian Citizenship Affirmation[edit]

There is also a variant known as the Australian Citizenship Affirmation that was first recited at Galston Park in NSW on Australia Day 1999 that reads:

As an Australian citizen,
I affirm my loyalty to Australia and its people,
Whose democratic beliefs I share,
Whose rights and liberties I respect,
And whose laws I uphold and obey.

The Department of Home Affairs encourages use of this affirmation by school students and members of the general public including on such occasions as Harmony Day, Refugee Week, Australian Citizenship Day (17 September) and Australia Day (26 January).[10][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Constitution". Federal Register of Legislation.
  2. ^ "Letters Patent Relating to the Office of Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia (21 August 1984)". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (No. S 334). 24 August 1984. Archived from the original on 28 August 2007.
  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. Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
  6. ^ DEFENCE (PERSONNEL) REGULATIONS 2002 – SCHEDULE 2
  7. ^ a b Changes in the Australian oath of citizenship.
  8. ^ Australian Citizenship Act 1973
  9. ^ See section 27 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2007 and Schedule 1
  10. ^ "Tanya Plibersek calls for Australian children to take pledge of allegiance".
  11. ^ "Australian citizenship affirmation".