Petition rules

Welcome to our beta site. We’ve improved things to make it easier for you to sign, create and learn about petitions. Email your feedback to petitions.committee.reps@aph.gov.au

Petitions must follow certain rules. These come from the standing orders which are the rules of the House of Representatives (the House). All of these rules must be followed for a petition to be approved.

You can create a petition using this online form which will help to make sure your petition follows these rules. You can also email a draft of your petition to the Petitions Committee secretariat for checking.

Expand the boxes below for more information about the rules. 

  • Petition reason

    Your petition must give a reason for why you are making the request.

    The reason provides information to help people to understand what you are asking for and why.

    Your petition reason must not include URL’s or attachments (see rule below).

    Tip: Make sure your reason is clear and easy to understand. People are more likely to sign your petition if they can understand why you are making the request.

  • Request for action

    Your petition must ask for something that the House of Representatives (the House) can do.

    This is usually something that the Federal Government is responsible for and not something that is the responsibility of a state or territory government or a local council.

    Example

    A petition can ask the House to put a new tax on sugary drinks.
    (the Federal Government is responsible for taxes on food and drinks)

    A petition cannot ask the House to change the laws for cats and dogs.
    (state and territory governments are responsible for domestic animal laws)

    A petition cannot ask the House to changes the days for rubbish collection in your suburb.
    (local councils are responsible for rubbish collection)

    Tip: Your petition request should be clear and easy to understand. One clear request is easier for people to understand than lots of different requests.

    People are more likely to sign your petition if they know what you are asking for.
     
  • Good language (moderate language)

    Your petition must use good language that is moderate.

    Your petition can’t:

    be rude or say nasty things

      ✘ ask for or promote something illegal 

    include a person’s name

    talk about violence or acts of violence
    (unless it provides necessary information to support your petition request)

    say bad things about the Queen, the Governor-General, the judiciary, Members of Parliament or Senators

    Tip: Think about how you would speak if you were asking for something from a friend. That is the type of language that you should use in a petition.

    We also do not check or change your spelling and grammar. Make sure you are happy with the wording in your petition before you submit it.

  • 250 word limit

    Together, the reason for your petition and your petition request must not be more than 250 words.

    This is so people can easily understand what your petition is asking for.

    Tip: If your petition takes too long to read or is hard to understand, they may lose interest. Write your petition in a way that is clear and easy to follow.

  • No URLs or attachments

    Petitions cannot include URLs (links to websites). Paper petitions cannot include attachments unless they are pages of signatures. 

    This is so people can easily understand what your petition is asking and know what they are signing.

    This also stops people from including things in their petition that do not meet the rules.

    Tip: If people are directed to extra information they may not understand it or they may not be able to access it. Write your petition in a way that is clear and provides enough information without using URL’s or attachments.

  • Rules for signatures

    Some rules for signatures are different for e-petitions and paper petitions.

    e-petitions

    e-petitions can collect signatures online for 4 weeks from the date the e-petition is approved by the Committee. This timeframe cannot be changed.

    Each person that signs your e-petition (including yourself) must confirm that they are a citizen or resident of Australia.

    A Member of Parliament cannot create or sign a petition.

    Paper petitions

    If you are the principal petitioner (the person who creates the petition) your full name and original signature must appear on the first page of the petition.
    (your contact details and signature will not be published, but your name will be)

    Each person that signs your petition (including yourself) must confirm that they are a citizen or resident of Australia.

    A Member of Parliament cannot create or sign a petition.

      ✔ Each signature must be original (signatures cannot be photocopied or changed)

  • Other rules

    These are some more rules you should know about:

    If you create a petition you will be the principal petitioner. You must provide your full name and contact details so that we can contact you about your petition.
    (your contact details will not be published, but your name will be)

      Your petition must be addressed to the House of Representatives.
    (not to the Government, to the Parliament or to a Member of Parliament or Senator)

    Your petition must be in English.
    (your petition can only be in another language if it is a paper petition and you have provided a certified English translation)

    Additional rules for paper petitions:

    Your petition reason and request must appear on the first page of your petition (with your name, contact details and signature).

    Your petition request must appear on the top of each page that has signatures. It must be the same request as the first page or the signatures will not be counted.
    (signatures on a blank page will also not be counted)


    Tip: When you create a petition using our online form the instructions will help to make sure your petition follows the rules. You can also email a draft of your petition to us for checking before you create your petition