Citizenship pledge would be encouraged in schools under a federal Labor government

Citizenship pledge would be encouraged in schools under a federal Labor government

Citizenship pledge would be encouraged in schools under a federal Labor government

Updated 23 November 2017, 10:36 AEDT

The five-line pledge is a "very elegant" reminder of what it is to be Australian and should be taught to students, Labor's education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek says.

Schoolkids would be encouraged to learn and recite Australia's citizenship pledge under a federal Labor government.

Most migrants say the pledge when taking part in citizenship ceremonies.

Would-be Australians praise the nation's democracy and laws, and promise to be loyal to the country.

During a speech in Sydney on last night, Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the pledge needed to be more widely known.

"All school kids should be encouraged to learn the citizenship pledge and recite it at school," she said.

"It's something I hope to pursue if I become education minister."

Ms Plibersek said the five-line statement was a "very elegant" reminder of what it was to be Australian, and suggested it could also feature at Australia Day ceremonies.

"I think it's a great encapsulation of our Australian values," she told the ABC.

"Just as I would love schoolkids to know the pledge, I'd also like more Australians to take the opportunity, on Australia Day for example, to restate their commitment to our democratic beliefs, our rights and our liberties, and our laws."

Ms Plibersek said if she became education minister, she would not make the pledge compulsory for schools, but would promote it.

"I think we need to talk to kids, and teachers, and principals, and their parents, and encourage them to do it," she said.

"I don't think Canberra needs to be mandating what happens at school assemblies."

Australian values 'fundamentally progressive'

The deputy Labor leader made the commitment while delivering the sixth Wran Lecture, established in honour of former New South Wales premier Neville Wran.

Titled "Inclusive Citizenship: A Labor Agenda", the speech argued the progressive side of politics needs to push for its version of Australian citizenship.

"Australian citizenship is the glue that holds our proudly multicultural nation together," she told the audience at Trades Hall.

"Conservatives love to wrap themselves in the flag, but what is missing from their notion of citizenship is solidarity; what we owe to one another.

"The hard right have long sought a monopoly privilege on Australian patriotism.

"But they're wrong.

"The values that underlie our citizenship are fundamentally progressive ones: democracy; equality; [and] fairness."