As trial balloons go, this one hasn't floated very far. Last week, speaking to Gerard Henderson's Sydney Institute, the federal social inclusion minister (sic), Tanya Plibersek, suggested that Australian schoolchildren should learn and recite the pledge used in citizenship ceremonies, pledging loyalty to "Australia and its people".

Her call has been pretty much ignored so far. So why shouldn't young Australians pledge allegiance in the same way that new citizens do?