Petitions to Council
Petitions inform the Council, in a public way, of the views of a section of the community and serve as one means of placing community concerns before Council.
Town of Cambridge electors may petition the Council to take some form of action over a particular issue. For example, petitions may ask the Council to change an existing policy, local law or recent decision, or for the Council to take action for a certain purpose or for the benefit of particular persons.
The subject of a petition must be a matter on which the Council has the power to act. For instance a petition cannot request the Council to improve hospital services, as this is a State Government responsibility.
Care must be taken in the wording of petitions as the Town requires certain information and content to be included to be a valid petition.
Please view the Petition of Electors Form
Requirements for Petitions
The Town does not accept online petitions as they do not conform to the requirements of the Town of Cambridge Standing Orders Local Law 2007.
Clause 3.5 of the Town of Cambridge Standing Orders Local Law 2007 sets out a number of requirements governing the format and presentation of petitions. These are designed to ensure the authenticity of petitions and protect the intentions of petitioners and Council.
The meeting procedures do not impose any particular style of expression but certain other requirements must be met. It is important that those involved in creating petitions familiarise themselves with these requirements before taking steps to collect signatures. This will avoid the possibility of the petition being ruled out of order and not being presented to Council. To be presented to Council, a petition is to:
- As far as practicable be prepared in the prescribed form
- Be addressed to the Council and forwarded to the Mayor, a Councillor or the Chief Executive Officer
- State the request on each page of the petition
- Contain a summary of the reasons for the request
- Contain the names, addresses and signatures of the electors and the date signed
- State the name of the person upon whom (initiator), and an address at which, notice of the outcome of the petition request can be given
- Be respectful and temperate in its language and not contain language disrespectful to Council
- Be legible
- Not contain any alterations
- Not have any letters or other documents attached to it, however a covering letter is permissible.
Petition Signature Requirements
Although there is no minimum number of signatures required for a petition to be accepted it will appear more representative of public feeling if it is signed by as many electors as possible. Although anyone can sign a petition, only Town of Cambridge electors will be recorded in the official signature count.
An elector is a person who owns or occupies rateable property within the Town of Cambridge and is eligible to vote in Local Government and State Government elections. All the signatures on a petition must meet the following requirements:
- Every signature must be written on a page bearing the terms of the petition, or the action requested by the petition. Please view the Petition_of_Electors_Form
- Signatures must not be copied, pasted or transferred on to the petition nor should they be placed on a blank page on the reverse of a sheet containing the terms of the petition
- Each signature must be made by the person signing in his or her own handwriting.
A petition can only be presented to Council at an Ordinary Council Meeting by the Mayor, a Councillor or the Chief Executive Officer. This can be any Councillor and does not have to be a Councillor from a particular Ward.
The person initiating the petition is to forward the petition to the Chief Executive Officer, Mayor or a Councillor prior to the commencement of the Ordinary Council Meeting at which they would like the petition presented. Although the Elected Member is not bound to present a petition, it is traditionally accepted that he or she will present it, irrespective of personal views. Presentation of a petition by an Elected Member does not mean that the Member necessarily agrees or disagrees with its content.
For details of dates, times and location of Ordinary Council Meetings contact the Town on 9347 6000.
Petitions at Council Meetings
One of the first items of business at a Council Meeting is for the Council to receive any petitions that have been presented. The Chief Executive Officer or Elected Member presenting the petition will read out a summary of the reasons for the petition being submitted and the amount of signatures within it (if possible).
When the petition is received, no discussion on the matter will take place however the petition will be referred to the Chief Executive Officer for appropriate action.
Every petition presented will be referred to a representative of the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the matter. The Chief Executive Officer’s representative will inform the petition initiator of the action proposed in dealing with the petition. This may involve having to prepare a detailed report for a future meeting of the Council for its consideration.
Petitions are Public Documents
All petitions tabled at Committee and Council Meetings are public documents, which may be inspected by members of the public at any time. This is provided for under Section 5.94 (P)(i) of the Local Government Act 1995.