The right to Petition the Crown and Parliament is of importance in procedural terms as the Standing Orders of the Legislative Council make the presentation of Petitions a formal proceeding in the House. Indeed the Presiding Officer calls for Petitions as the first item of formal business on each sitting day. As demands on the time of the House to transact legislative and other business have increased over time, Standing Orders have evolved to a point where the presentation of a Petition, except in very rare and special circumstances, does not give rise to any immediate debate.
However with the Legislative Council being a political and legislative body it is important that every citizen be able to use the forms of the House to place a matter before it.
Petitions may request an alteration of the law or the reconsideration of a general administrative decision or indeed for the redress of local or personal grievances. For a Petition to be presented to and be received by the Legislative Council it is very important that care be taken to ensure that the Petition is in the correct form and does not in any way contravene the applicable Standing Orders.
Petitions which do not fully conform with Standing Order requirements are deemed to be out of order and not able to be brought up in the House.
FORM AND CONTENT OF PETITIONS
Legislative Council Standing Orders Nos. 42 to 44 prescribe the rules associated with the content, format and presentation of Petitions. These Standing Orders must not be contravened in order for a Petition to be presented. The Standing Orders are reproduced as follows -
PART 8 - PETITIONS
42. Contents of Petition
A Petition will -
(1) Be lodged only by a Member.
(2) Be legible.
(3) Be addressed to the President of the Council.
(4) State the action or remedy sought from the Council.
(5) Be in English or be accompanied by a translation certified to be correct.
(6) Contain at least one signature.
(7) Contain the names and addresses of the petitioners and their own signatures or marks, except in case of incapacity or sickness where someone else may sign on their behalf.
(8) Be respectful and temperate in its language.
(9) If from a corporation, be made under its common seal.
43. Petitions will not contain
A Petition will not -
(1) Have letters, affidavits or other documents attached to it.
(2) Be lodged by a Member who has signed the Petition as a petitioner.
(3) Make an application for direct grant of public money to be paid to an individual.
(4) Have signatures pasted or otherwise transferred to the Petition.
44. Procedure for lodgement and presentation
The procedure for the lodging and presentation of a Petition -
(1) The Member must write the number of signatures contained in the Petition on the front sheet and sign the front sheet.
(2) The Clerk will, prior to presentation, certify on the Petition that it is in conformity with the Standing Orders.
(3) The Member presenting the petition will announce the subject matter of the petition in brief and the number of signatures attached to it unless the President determines otherwise.
(4) It is in order for the Petition to be received unless the Council or the President determines otherwise.
(5) No discussion of the subject matter is allowed.
(6) The Clerk shall read the Petition in full after which a question shall be put “That the Petition be received”.
(7) The text of each Petition which the House has received shall be communicated to the Premier by the Clerk.
(8) A Government response to each Petition shall be laid before the House within 15 sitting days of its communication to the Premier by the Leader of the Government.
Should any clarification, information or assistance be required then please contact the Clerk of the Legislative Council, Mr David Pearce on tel (03) 6212 2331 or email email@example.com