What's a petition? 

From encouraging incremental change to contributing to wide-ranging systemic reform – petitions are a powerful advocacy tool to bring about action. Petitions are a request for change, usually addressed to a decision-maker – a person who is in a position of power to make change. This could be an elected representative, such as a Member of Parliament, Senator, Prime Minister or Minister of a particular portfolio such as “Environment.” Or it could be someone in a corporate position, such as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or board member of a business who has the voice and influence to make change on the issue at hand.

A petition usually:

  • Has a clear and specific message that tells the decision-maker directly what the community would like them to do
  • Embodies a collective voice, showing that this is a call to action from many people in our community
  • Is part of a bigger movement for action – as well as the petition, a group or organisation may be running events, activities, MP meetings, working in an alliance with like-minded groups/organisations, and more!

Why sign a petition?

Petitions are powerful starting points for important conversation, both within the community and with decision-makers.

Signing a petition is a great entry point for many members of the wider community to learn about and engage with an issue. This is why you often see them used by volunteers and local groups having conversations on the street or at a market stall! But petitions are key to having constructive conversations with decision-makers too.

MPs and Senators care about what their constituents think, and many businesses are concerned about how people perceive them – so seeing a petition with hundreds or even thousands of signatures gives them a strong indication of what their community thinks is a big priority.

As petitions gain momentum they can attract media attention and contribute to major policy changes at a federal level. One small signature can kickstart a process for change that creates a better future.

What are other ways to create political change?

Petitions are one tool to create conversations that support action by decision-makers. But there are many other ways to make your voice heard:

  • Writing a unique letter or email to your elected representatives or other decision-makers to share the issue you care about, why, and what you want them to do about it. Remember to be clear, polite and respectful.
  • Make a submission to an inquiry that you care about.
  • Join an ACF Community group to meet other like-minded individuals. You could also start or continue your advocacy journey by joining a local event or signing up for a welcome call with an ACF volunteer.
  • Donate or put on a community fundraiser.

Active ACF petitions

You can get started by signing an ACF petition for an issue you care strongly about. These petitions are delivered to MPs and Ministers to let them know about the thousands of Australians that care for nature and want a world where nature and communities thrive. 

Sign a petition


Photo: Community conversations at an ACF BBQ in Western Sydney in 2019 to present the Nature Laws petition to Tony Bourke's representative. Credit: Jill Rischbieth

Phoebe Rountree

Mobilisation Coordinator at Australian Conservation Foundation