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Flag Flying and Patriotic Ceremonies

Policy

This policy outlines the requirements relating to flag flying in schools and to support schools and students to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity and Australian citizenship.

Summary

  • Schools must fly the Australian National Flag on days when patriotic ceremonies are conducted and on national flag days (if the school is open).
  • Schools may also fly the Australian National Flag during school hours.
  • Schools are encouraged to fly the Victorian State Flag, Aboriginal Flag or Torres Strait Islander Flag if they have additional flag poles.
  • Schools must conduct any ceremony acknowledging and celebrating the role of students as citizens of Australia, in a manner that is consistent with the Victorian Public Sector Values and inclusive of all students.
  • Schools must not compel students to recite a pledge or declaration or take part in a patriotic ceremony if the student or parents or carers object based on religious, cultural, philosophical or other beliefs.

Details

Except as stated elsewhere in this policy, or on other special occasions advised by the Department of Premier and Cabinet, flags are only to be flown during normal working hours.

It is recommended that each school register to receive state flag notifications from the Department of Premier and Cabinet. To subscribe, visit Flag Notifications

Australian National Flag

The Commonwealth Government presents an Australian National Flag to every new Government school upon opening. It is generally expected that a flag last around 7 years. If a new flag is required, schools can request a replacement from either the Federal Member of Parliament for their electoral division or a Senator from the State of Victoria.

It is expected that schools fly the Australian National Flag as the default flag.

Schools must fly the Australian National Flag on the following days, if they are open:

  • January 1 — commemorating the anniversary of the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia
  • January 26 — Australia Day
  • March — the second Monday — Labour Day
  • April 25 — Anzac Day, with flags flown at:
    • half-mast until noon
    • the masthead until the close of business
  • June — second Monday of the month: observing the anniversary of the Queen’s birthday
  • September 3 — National Flag Day:
  • commemorating the first official flying of Australian flags at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne on 3 September 1901
  • November 11 — Remembrance Day with flags flown at:
    • the masthead from 8am to 10:30am
    • half-mast from 10:30am to 11:02am
    • the masthead from 11:02am to the close of business

Schools may also raise the Australian National Flag:

  • at the beginning of each school day, flying the flag between 8am and the close of business, other than on special occasions
  • when providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the current flag, its history and future

Schools must:

  • give precedence to the Australian National Flag over all other flags
  • not fly 2 flags on one pole
  • fly the Australian National Flag on the flagpole to the left of any other flags when a person is facing the building

Flying other flags

Where Victorian government schools have multiple flagpoles, school principals may choose to display other flags alongside the Australian National flag, ensuring the flags are consistent with the Department of Education and Training’s Values, and in line with the Australian National Flag Protocols set by the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Schools are encouraged to fly the Victorian State Flag, Aboriginal Flag or Torres Strait Islander Flag  if they have additional flag poles

Schools may choose to fly other flags on additional flag poles on the following days, if they are open:

  • 21 March — Harmony Day to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity and support inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone
  • May 27 to June 3 — National Reconciliation Week to recognise:
    • 27 May as the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum which successfully removed clauses from the Constitution that discriminated against indigenous Australians
    • 3 June as Eddie Mabo Day, the anniversary of the High Court decision in the Eddie Mabo land rights case of 1992 recognised by Torres Strait Islanders
  • July, a nominated week — NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal & Islanders’ Day Observance Committee) to celebrate and promote greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and culture
  • July 1 — 'Coming of the Light' celebration day for Torres Strait Islanders

Information about flying the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag (as well as the Australian National Flag and other Australian flags) is available on the Australian government website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at Australian Flags.

Flagpoles

For information regarding the provision of flagpoles for school buildings, visit the Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH) or contact the Victorian School Building Authority: email vsba@education.vic.gov.au or phone 1800 896 950.

Ceremonies in relation to being an Australian citizen (patriotic ceremonies)

When considering holding any ceremonies celebrating Australian citizenship, or cultural diversity, schools must:

Patriotic ceremonies may include:

  • singing the Australian National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair
  • acknowledging the symbolic importance of the Australian National Flag alongside other flags including the:
    • Australian Aboriginal Flag
    • Torres Strait Islander Flag
  • student recital of a declaration, such as:
    • an Australian Citizenship Affirmation
    • an oath or pledge devised by the school, in consultation with the school council expressing the ideals of citizenship and celebrating cultural diversity

Schools must not compel students to recite a pledge or declaration or take part in a patriotic ceremony if the student or parents or carers object based on religious, cultural, philosophical or other beliefs

Any flags used in a patriotic ceremony held at a school must include the Australian National Flag.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on requirements relating to flag flying in schools and supporting schools and students to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity and Australian citizenship inclusively

Reviewed 05 May 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils

Contact

School Operations and Governance Unit

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