Civics and citizenship education enjoyed a revival in Australia from the mid-1990s onwards. It had bipartisan support from political parties, enjoyed funding for both curriculum materials development and teacher development, and has been given a high profile in all States and Territories. School level practice has been challenged by civics and citizenship education. There has been the need to seek both a place in the school curriculum and a pedagogy that is both engaging and meaningful for students. In themselves, these are significant challenges, but they pale into insignificance when compared with the geo-political realties that have shaken nation-states since 11 September 2001. The education and preparation of citizens must now take center stage if the world is to remain a compassionate and tolerant place in which to live. This paper addresses this issue by examining the threats to democracy that have emerged in the twenty-first century. In the light of these threats, classified as external to the nation-state as well as internal, the nature and purpose of citizenship education programs are discussed with a view to developing outcomes that will help young Australians face an uncertain future. In particular, the issue of developing civic capacity in young people is canvassed. Copyright © 2003 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.