Most people have come across a petition and you may have even signed one. Gathering signatures to show group support is an age-old and very popular way to show that the community wants change or disagrees with a policy. But it’s not just a matter of rounding up a heap of names. A well-structured petition not only gets public attention. It also has a better chance of being taken seriously by the people making the decisions.
Direct your attention where it counts
Clearly identify who you are targeting with your petition. Try to find a specific person who has direct responsibility for your issue. Ask yourself if it's someone to do with:
- School or university
Cover the main arguments
You must know your topic to be really convincing. Fill your head full of the relevant facts before you start out on the trail. Be clear about the topic you are petitioning and the key arguments from all sides.
Show the urgency
Prepare a clear message about:
- What’s wrong with the situation
- Why it needs to change
- How things can get better
Adapt a template
Download and adapt our petition template Word (35 KB) to use as a basis for creating your own.
Get some advice
The Parliament of Victoria has some useful guidelines for creating a petition. They look formal, but they’re good tips from a group that have seen how petitions can fail or succeed:
- Use language that is respectful and non-emotive
- Clearly define the subject of the petition on the top of every sheet
- Make sure the signatories include their name, signature and address or email address on the sheet.
- Don't attach any other documents to the petition – all the information being presented to the petitioners when they sign is all the information they need
- Don't let someone sign for anyone else, not even friends or family (unless they are incapable of signing)
Get the signatures
Every possible signature matters. Try to collect them all. Recruit people to take your petition to their friends, family, neighbourhoods and schools.
Get it into Parliament
You need to have your petition presented in Parliament by an MP. To do this, get in touch with your local member or the representative or Minister who deals with your issue.
Send your petition through with some background information and a request that it’s tabled in Parliament. You could write a letter, send an email or meet with a politician to make your case.
Parliament of Victoria - Petitions
Template and instructions for submitting a petition to the Victorian State Government.