Australian Citizenship


Fifty years ago there were no Australian citizens. Officially, Australians were called 'British subjects'. Even in 1949 when we became Australian citizens rather than British subjects, we did not regard all citizens as equal. Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, for example, were not allowed to vote.

This activity helps explain what citizenship is and what it means for Australians. It will also help you to make up your mind about some of the hot issues about citizenship in today's world.

Curriculum links

Links to the Australian Curriculum

Your job

Your job is to produce a poster and four leaflets for display in a public place such as the school foyer, the local library, the town hall or the local supermarket.

The poster should inform people about Australian citizenship and encourage them to think about citizenship issues.

The leaflets will contain information about important aspects of citizenship and the resources you could use to find out about them. Click on each title for more details. The topics are:

  1. Becoming an Australian citizen
  2. Citizen of Australia or the World?
  3. Active citizens
  4. Our citizens

If you think of a catchier name for each leaflet, feel free to use it.


There are three ways to get information needed for the task:

  • Use Internet sites and books.

  • Use resources in your local community including gathering information from students, teachers, family, friends and local papers and organisations.

  • Discuss and form your own views on issues: to make the leaflets more interesting you will need to discuss issues such as human rights and citizenship, global citizenship, active citizenship and the qualities of good citizens.

Doing the work

If you are working on your own you might have to select just part of the task — perhaps a poster and one or two leaflets — which will still make a good display. A group will be able to manage the whole task. People working in a group will need to divide up the task and meet regularly to compare information and designs. Follow these steps to complete your work:

Step 1
Decide which leaflet you will do. Gather information using a range of resources. If you are working in pairs or groups, share out the information gathering. Collect both words and pictures.
Step 2
Design each leaflet. Make the leaflet from an A4 sheet of paper folded into three parts. Decide which will be the front and back panels when the sheet is folded. Plan to use a picture and big type on the front panel to grab people's attention. It might be useful to look at some printed leaflets to get some ideas about design before you begin.
Step 3
Organise all the information you collected in Step 1. Use the remaining panels for the information and discussion of the topic. Use a lot of subheadings in writing up the details. Try to avoid having to turn the leaflet over to follow the text. Include some information about yourself on the back panel (This leaflet was written and designed by ... ).
Step 4
Make a poster to display with the leaflets and attract attention to them. It should contain very few words and a striking image or statement.


When you have finished everything, ask yourself these questions. Discuss them in your group:

  • Do the leaflets answer the questions?
  • Is each leaflet an attention-getter?
  • Have you formed opinions about citizenship and human rights and active citizenship?
  • Can you name three examples of good citizenship in your own community?
  • What other things do you want to know about citizenship?
  • Did the display catch people's attention?
  • Could you answer a reader's questions about the leaflets?
  • Did passers-by take leaflets?
  • Did you have comments on the leaflets or poster?

Background | 1. Becoming an Australian citizen | 2. Citizen of Australia or the World?3. Active citizens | 4. Our citizens

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