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Petitions and joint letters to Council

Individuals and groups can express concern about an issue and ask Council to take action by organising a petition or joint letter.

The difference between a petition and joint letter

A petition petition is signed by no less than 12 people of separate addresses setting forth the matter on which a remedy or relief is sought. The matter is usually recorded as a request (formally called a ‘prayer’) at the top of each page of signatures. The prayer should read "We the undersigned residents and ratepayers of the City of Whittlesea formally request Council to…", and should be followed by the signatories’ full names, addresses and signatures (please see below for rules about signatures).

A joint letter is a letter signed by not less than three persons of separate addresses, setting forth the matter on which a remedy or relief is sought. The joint letter must contain the signatories’ full names, addresses and signatures (please see below for rules about signatures).  

Preparing your petition or joint letter

Your petition or joint letter to Council must:

  • be addressed to the Chair of Council or the Panel of Administrators of the City of Whittlesea
  • not relate to a matter beyond the powers of Council to address
  • state the facts which the petitioners wish to bring to the notice of the Council
  • contain a request for Council to take one or more specified actions
  • not be defamatory or malicious
  • not repeat a question which has been asked and answered in the preceding three months
  • not deal with a matter dealt with by the Council in the preceding three months
  • be in a legible and permanent form of writing, typing or printing (petitions or joint letters may be submitted as an attachment to an email, however online petitions themselves will not be accepted)
  • be in English or accompanied by a translation certified to be correct - the person certifying the translation must place their name and address on the translation
  • not contain any text alterations
  • feature the entire wording of the ‘prayer’ or request on every page that people sign
  • not be attached, stapled or pinned to other documents besides another page of the petition
  • online petitions will not be accepted

Rules about signatures

All the signatures on a petition or joint letter must:

  • be made by the person signing in his or her writing (an individual who is unable to sign, due to illness or disability, must make a mark in the presence of a witness, who must sign as witness and write his or her address, and the name and address of the individual for whom they are a witness)
  • not be copied, pasted or transferred on to the petition
  • not be placed on a blank page or the back of a sheet containing the terms of the petition
  • be numbered in sequence beginning on each page with the number one

Assistance preparing a petitioner

Petitions and Joint Letters should be in writing and in English unless this unreasonably prevents or hinders you from participating.

If you would like assistance to draft a petition or joint letter, a member of Council’s Governance Administration team would be happy to help you. To organise this assistance, please phone Council on 9217 2294.

If the head petitioner or lead signatory does not speak English, Council offers various language services to help, including VITS and LanguageLinks. 

If the head petitioner or lead signatory has a hearing or speech impairment they may use the National Relay Service. 

How to lodge a petition

You can submit your petition or joint letter in the following ways:

By mail to:

Chief Executive Officer
City of Whittlesea
Locked Bag 1
Bundoora MDC 3083

By email to:

info@whittlesea.vic.gov.au

For more information about submitting a petition or joint letter to Council, call us on 9217 2294.

After you lodge a petition or joint letter

If the petition or joint letter meets the requirements, the petition or joint letter will be processed and be tabled at the next Scheduled Council Meeting, where possible. We encourage you to submit your petition or joint letter prior to the day of the next Scheduled Council Meeting to provide Council with sufficient time to undertake any necessary research or investigations.

We will notify the person who submitted a petition (head petitioner)/joint letter, or all petitioners/signatories to a petition/joint letter where there are 12 or less signatories, that we have received the petition/joint letter and advise when it will be tabled at a Council Meeting. 

 

Have your say and speak at a Council meeting

Council's Governance Rules were updated at its Council Meeting on 1 June 2021 to provide the option to the head petitioner or lead signatory, or another individual who has signed the petition or joint letter, to speak at the Council meeting at which it will be tabled.

Clause 22(8) of the updated Council’s Governance Rules states the following:

The lead person, or one of the signatories, to a petition or joint letter will be given an opportunity to speak to the petition or joint letter at the Council Meeting at which it is tabled. The person, in addressing the Council, must:

(a) confine their speech to the 2-minute allocation of time;
(b) extend due courtesy and respect to Council and the processes under which it operates;
(c) take direction from the Chairperson whenever called upon to do so;
(d) not enter into discussion or debate, unless responding to questions asked by Administrators for the purposes of clarification of the speaker’s points;
(e) not make statements that may prejudice, insult or defame any individual; and
(f) limit their presentation to the topic of the petition or joint letter.

If you would like to have your say and speak at a Council meeting, or alternatively arrange for another signatory of the petition or joint letter or to speak, please advise us in the petition template form (which can be accessed above) or email info@whittlesea.vic.gov.au.

You can also view the relevant Council Meeting via live streaming at our Youtube channel.

We will do our best to table the petition or joint letter at the next Scheduled Council meeting after we receive it. When the petition or joint letter relates to an item on that Council meeting agenda, it may be considered with the matter at the meeting.

We will advise the head petitioner/signatory to a joint letter or all petitioners/signatories to a petition/joint letter where there are 12 or less signatories, of the final Council decision once the matter has been investigated and reported back to Council, where necessary. Council may also contact the head petitioner/signatory to a joint letter, or all petitioners/signatories to a petition/joint letter where there are 12 or less signatories, to work with them directly to resolve an issue or concern.