Australian Girl Guides drop pledge to Queen, God

Australia`s 28,000 guides will now vow to serve community and country and "live with courage and strength".

Last Updated: Jul 06, 2012, 16:00 PM IST

Melbourne: Australia`s Girl Guides will no longer pledge allegiance to the British queen and God but instead will vow to serve the community and the country, ending a 50-year practice.

Promising to serve God and the Queen and pledging obedience have been ruled old-fashioned and out of step with modern Australian life by junior and senior guides.

Australia`s 28,000 guides will now vow to serve community and country and "live with courage and strength".

The change to the Guiding Promise and Guide Law begins in units across the country from today.

Girl Guides New South Wales state commissioner Belinda Allen said it was up to her 10,000 members to decide if Queen Elizabeth`s photograph was removed from inside guide halls.

"Whether they take down pictures of the Queen or keep them in the halls is totally up to the girls," she was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying.

"They may decide they still like to have pictures of the Queen around but the world has changed and we have to move on," she added.

"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 revised pledge now read.

For 50 years, the guides pledged allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and God.

About one million Australian women have been part of the Guiding Movement since it began in 1910.

The review of the wording has been under way for two years and involved a survey of all members. The last review was held in the 1960s.

"The Queen is much loved by many guides, as she is by much of the population, and we all absolutely admire her in her jubilee year but our community comes from many different backgrounds," Allen said.

"She is not part of the (Australian) citizenship pledge and being responsible to one`s community is one of the essences of guiding. We espouse that rather than the Queen," Allen added.

The Australian Scouting movement made pledging to do their duty to the Queen optional in 2001 but retained God in their promise.

Allen said the girls voted to retain their sashes with badges -- "the younger girls wanted to keep that, they liked their sash" -- but God, the Queen and obedience were sticking points.

"Obedience was universally seen as not appropriate for women in 2012," she added.

PTI