Politics

The Senate Voted For Kids To Do A Pledge Of Allegiance In School For Some Weird Reason

"Well, nothing screams “freedom” quite like compulsory nationalism."

Australian flag

Love Australia? Love proving it in a gratuitous display of nationalism? Love forcing our kids to as well?

You’ll be in good company amongst our Australian senators, who recently voted for students to recite a pledge of allegiance to Australia at school.

The motion was non-binding, but still passed 51 to 9. Only the Greens voted against it.

For context, back in January Labor MP Tanya Plibersek called for all children to learn a pledge of allegiance in schools. It’s something she has supported for years.

Last week Senators Eric Abetz and Concetta Fierravanti-Wells picked that up and ran with it, moving a motion that schools should consider forcing kids to recite the Australian citizenship pledge. The motion states that the Senate “notes the Australian citizenship pledge … and calls on all schools to consider having the citizenship pledge recited by students on appropriate occasions”.

While there’s nothing wrong with loving Australia — we do have the best beaches in the world and nothing will convince we otherwise — we’re also a country where patriotism has known to turn ugly.

In a place where “love it or leave!” has become tied to our immigration debate and we can’t even have a civil debate about the date of our national holiday, it’s easy for nationalism to turn to jingoism.

Forcing patriotism onto people isn’t going to solve any of that.