Fact Sheet G1

Fact Sheet G1: Petitions

 

Summary: Victorians can use petitions to raise issues and request action from Parliament. If you want to present a petition to the Legislative Assembly, you need to understand and follow all the necessary rules. Petitions that do not follow the rules cannot be presented. Use the template for preparing a petition, included in this fact sheet.

 

What to include in your petition Your petition presented in the Chamber
Petition template Serious breaches of the rules
Collecting signatures Find out more
Arrange for a member to present your petition  

 

What to include in your petition

Only include issues within the Legislative Assembly's authority. These include state issues in areas such as roads, public transport, police and gaming. Commonwealth issues such as taxation, defence, foreign trading, divorce, immigration and industrial relations are not allowed.

At the top of each petition page, only show who the petitioners are, what the issue is, and the action you want. This information must be printed on each page before anybody signs. See the template below.

Prepare your petition in English or attach a certified translation.

The back of the petition sheet is important. You can include a return address and more signatures, but not any information about your petition.  Ideally, do not add anything else as your petition may be invalid, particularly if you include anything political.  We can still accept a petition if the words are uncontroversial and irrelevant. 

Do not attach letters, affidavits or other documents (a certified translation is fine).

 

Petition template

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Collecting signatures

Follow these rules to make sure the signatures you collect are valid:

  • only collect signatures from Victorian residents, as other signatures are not valid and will not be counted
  • only collect handwritten original signatures, not photocopies or scanned signatures
  • do not allow anyone to sign for someone else, unless the other person is incapable of signing and agrees
  • get each person to add their name, signature and address (only Victorian addresses are acceptable)
  • ensure people only sign sheets with the text of your petition at the top
  • if you run out of room on the front of a petition page, you can continue recording signatures on the back
  • make sure you have at least one signature.

 

Arrange for a member to present your petition

Do not send your petition to Parliament House.

Only a member of the Legislative Assembly can present your petition. This means you must contact a member and ask them to present it. You can ask any member, whether they are your local member or not, to present your petition.

For details about members, visit www.parliament.vic.gov.au or contact the Procedure Office on 03 9651 8563.

The member signs at the top of the first page of your petition to show they are presenting it. This is not the same as signing as a petitioner and does not mean the member agrees with its contents.

The member gives your petition to the Clerk, who checks that it meets all requirements for presentation. When all checks are done, the Clerk arranges presentation on the next sitting day.

A member cannot present a petition they have signed as a petitioner.

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Your petition presented in the Chamber

Your petition will be presented during formal busines (see Fact Sheet A1: A Typical Sitting Day in the Assembly).

The Clerk announces the name of the member presenting your petition, its subject matter and the number of signatures. These details are printed in the Votes and Proceedings (minutes) and in Hansard.

The Clerk sends the relevant minister a copy of the front sheet of your petition, showing the issue raised and the total number of signatures. The minister may choose to respond to your petition but is not obliged to. Responses are not presented to the Legislative Assembly or printed in Hansard.

Alternatively, a member can read the terms of a petition and the number of signatures during statements by members (see Fact Sheet B1: Types of Debate).

 

Serious breaches of the rules

Any attempt to sign on someone else's behalf is a breach of the Legislative Assembly's rights, unless by agreement where that person is incapable of signing their name.

You could be in contempt if you fraudulently persuade someone to sign a petition.

In both situations, the Assembly has the power to investigate and take action against the person involved.

 

Find out more

If you have any questions about petitions, please call:

Assistant Clerk Committees
Parliament House
East Melbourne
ph 03 9651 8555.

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