Labor MP Faces Backlash After Calling For Aussie Kids To Pledge Allegiance
Labor MP Tanya Plibersek has come under fire on social media after calling for all school students to be taught the Australian citizenship pledge.
The politician will put forward her views during an Australia Day address at Sydney Opera House on Sunday.
The 50-year-old, born in Sydney to Slovenian immigrants, recited the country's pledge of allegiance on Twitter and called it an "elegant expression of what it takes to be a good citizen".
Social media users swiftly responded to Plibersek's plans that would apparently require Australian students to swear loyalty to the nation.
Plibersek's Australia Day speech also put great emphasis on patriotism, in a possible attempt to shift the conversation away from right-wing dominance.
"Patriotism, like mateship, is about solidarity. It's about what we owe each other as citizens," she said.
"To love your country is not to assume it's better than others. Patriots don't need to feel superior to feel proud."
The former Labor deputy leader said patriotism was on show as Australians banded together to support nationwide bushfire relief.
"Without pause or hesitation, people have accepted their duty to each other as citizens, as neighbours, as fellow human beings," she said.
"This has been patriotism at its practical best; patriotism as the thread connecting us all as Australians."
The speech echoed one of Plibersek's earlier speeches in 2017, when during The Wran Lecture she said "you can be a progressive and love your country".
"You can be proud of your citizenship and dedicated to progress," Plibersek said.
“The hard right have long sought a monopoly privilege on Australian patriotism, but they’re wrong. Indeed, the very act of seeking that monopoly shows just how wrong they are.”