Discover Democracy

Extract from Brandan Nelson's Letter for School Principals


Dear School Principal

As Commonwealth Minister for Education, I am committed to assisting you, your staff and parents to help young Australians to become active and informed citizens in our democracy. This is in line with all Education Ministers’ commitment to Goal 1.4 of the National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-first Century which states that when students leave schools they should be “active and informed citizens with an understanding and appreciation of Australia’s system of government and civic life.”

As an associated activity of the Discovering Democracy programme, it gives me pleasure to present your school with a video about the Australian Flag. The new teachers’ notes, included with the video, provide a link between the video and the Discovering Democracy resources which have been provided to all schools since 1998. Discovering Democracy is the national programme of civics and citizenship education. It assists students to learn about Australia’s system of government, our legal and political institutions, the history of Australian democracy and the nature of our civic life; it encourages them to become active and informed citizens.


Yours sincerely
Brendan Nelson


Few Australians know the unique and proud story of our flag –the only national flag to fly over an entire continent, but also the first to be chosen in an open public competition. Following federation in 1901, the new Commonwealth government arranged a competition to choose a flag for the new nation, and entries were submitted from nearly 1% of the population at that time. Five people tied for the honour of designing the Australian flag - Annie Dorrington, Ivor Evans, Leslie Hawkins, Egbert Nuttall, and William Stevens.  The winning design was unveiled on 3 September, which has been officially proclaimed as Australian National Flag Day. 


We’re all proud of our country and we can fly our flag to show it!