So help me God: a history of oaths in office

So Help Me God is the third paper in the PM Glynn Institute Occasional Paper Series. It offers an historical account of the legal requirement of making a solemn promise upon assuming a public office, and the contribution that this makes to instilling public confidence in public institutions.

The pamphlet provides a brief introduction to oaths as solemn promises, and distinguishes between oaths, affirmations, pledges and declarations currently required by Australian law. It also provides a history of the development of this practice, and of attempts (both successful and unsuccessful) at reforming it. Finally, it offers some observations about the sense in which such solemn promises can help maintain trust and confidence in public institutions.

So Help Me God was prepared by Damien Freeman and Visiting Fellow David Corbett and was supported by an advisory group comprising: Professor Nicholas Aroney (University of Queensland), Dr Michael Casey, Professor Michael Ondaatje, Dr Bernadette Tobin and Professor Brian Turner. 

The pamphlet was printed in 2020 and will formally launched in 2021.

Download So help me God: a history of oaths in office

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