Saturday, August 04, 2012

Girl Guides lead towards an independent Australia

After 18 months of intensive consultation with thousands of members and volunteers, the Girl Guides of Australia have dropped from their pledge of allegiance any reference to both the Queen and God. For a century Girl Guides have promised to do their duty to God and serve the Queen. Australian Girl Guides will now make their promise to serve the community and the country rather than to the Queen and God. Although this move comes in a jubilee year, Girl Guides Australia director Belinda Allen says the timing is right. It is this grassroots movement from Australian organisations that will be instrumental in the creation of an Australian republic.

Since 1969 Australian Girl Guides have made this promise. “To do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country” But from 6 July 2012, God and the Queen will no longer be mentioned. Instead, the young recruits will promise to do their best to be true to themselves and develop their beliefs, serve their community and Australia and live by the Guide Law. The modernisation of the Girl Guide pledge is a reflection of Girl Guides wanting to move with the times and understanding that as a country we are changing and seeking our own identity and that's part of being Australian.

The change to the Australian Girl Guides' 40-year-old pledge to Queen and to God involved a survey of all 28,000 guides and leaders on changing the promise. The refreshed Girl Guides' promise will see its 28,000-strong group promise to do their best "to be true to myself and develop my beliefs" rather than to "do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country". NSW Guides Commissioner Belinda Allen said
"We are very much hopeful with the new wording to the promise that we'll be seen as more inclusive and modern and relevant organisation and many more people will like to join us."

In the new guide law, loyal has been replaced with respect and helpful replaced with considerate.
The old Guide Promise
I promise that I will do my best:
To do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country;
To help other people; and
To keep the Guide Law.

The new Guide Promise
I promise that I will do my best:
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs
To serve my community and Australia
And live by the Guide Law.

The Girl Guide movement started in Australia in 1911. Worldwide, the Girl Guide movement has 10 million members and involves girls aged between 4 and 25. About a million Australian women have been part of the Guiding Movement since it began in 1910. Helen Geard, Australia’s Chief Commissioner has said the World Association for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts or WAGGGS has ratified the changes the Australian movement has made to its promise.WAGGGS has supported Australia and other countries to explore their Promise and Law to ensure it remains relevant to the girls and members of today.”

Republicans have welcomed the decision by Girl Guides Australia to vow to serve community and country rather than Queen and God. National Director of the Australian Republican Movement, David Morris, said it was important young Australians developed an ethic of service to community and country. On 6 July 2012, he said. 
"While Australians come from all over the world and often have emotional attachments to other countries, we have built, here in Australia, a unique community based on the values of a fair go and getting on with the job".
"For the girls of the Girl Guides, and for all Australians, we should be proud of Australia's heritage, such as being the first country in the world to introduce votes for women and to allow women to stand for parliament."
“Our kids are the future and it is very important that we develop the ethic of service to community and country.”
“It is our responsibility to teach our kids to take control of their own destiny, through community service and confidence in themselves.”
“All of the things we have achieved as a nation have been the result of Australians contributing to their community. Girl Guides have played their part in that and we salute them for their service to Australia."

It is these young women of Australia who will help to build an even fairer and more inclusive future.

No comments: