Petitions inform the Council, in a public way, the views of sections of the community and serve as a means of placing community concerns before Council.
Any Town of Cambridge elector, or group of electors, can petition the Council to take some form of action over a particular matter. 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.
It is important note the subject of the petition must be a matter on which the Council has the power to act.
Clause 3.5 of Town of Cambridge Standing Orders Local Law 2007(PDF, 146KB) sets out requirements governing the format and presentation of petitions. These are designed to ensure the authenticity and integrity of petitions. The Standing Orders do not impose any particular style of expression, but certain other requirements must be met.
It is very important those involved in drawing up petitions familiarise themselves with the requirements before collecting signatures. This will avoid the possibility of the petition being ruled out of order, and being unable to be presented to Council.
To be presented to Council, a petition must:
- Be addressed to the Mayor, a Councillor or the CEO;
- Be made by electors of the district;
- 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 and address of the petition’s initiator, so that notice can be given to petitioners via the initiator;
- Be respectful and temperate in its language, and not contain language disrespectful to Council;
- Be legible;
- Be in the English language or be accompanied by a translation certified to be correct. The person certifying the translation must place his or her name and address on the translation;
- Not contain any alterations; and
- Not have any letters or other documents attached to it (a covering letter is allowed).
Using the Petition of Electors Form(PDF, 93KB) to submit a petition will ensure all required information and signatures are properly recorded for submission to the Council.
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.
- 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 a Council Meeting or Committee 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 the start 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 Council and Committee meeting dates, times and location visit our Council & Committee Meeting Dates page or call us on 9347 6000.
One of the first items of business at a Council Meeting is 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.
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 the department responsible for the matter which is the subject of the petition. An assigned staff member 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.
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.