Chapter 10 - Petitions

71    Content of petitions

  1. No reference shall be made in a petition to any debate in Parliament of the same session, unless it is strictly relevant to the petition.

  2. A petition shall be respectful, decorous, and temperate in its language, and shall not contain language disrespectful to any legislature or irrelevant statements.

  3. A senator presenting a petition shall be acquainted with the contents of it, and shall take care that it is in conformity with the rules and orders of the Senate.

Amendment history

Adopted: 19 August 1903 as SOs 82 and 83 (corresponding to paragraphs (1) and (2)) and 87 and 88 (corresponding to paragraph (3))

1989 revision: Old SOs 87, 88, 92 and 93 combined into one, restructured as three paragraphs and renumbered as S0 71 ; language modernised and expression simplified


The standing orders in regard to the content of petitions were not contentious, having been adopted without debate from similar standing orders in the Victorian and New South Wales legislative assemblies which themselves reflected traditional practice. Since that time, the standing orders have remained unamended. See Odgers’ Australian Senate Practice, 12th edition, p.448–50.