Start a petition

Get involved and have your say by starting a petition. This activity can be used to help your students have their voices heard in their school, local community, or in Parliament.

Years 5 to 12
1 lesson

Getting started

Investigating petitions

With your class, complete the following activities:

  1. Read the Petitions fact sheet to find out about the history of petitions and how they work in the Australian Parliament.
  2. Use the Federal Parliament history timeline to learn about the Yirrkala Petitions in 1963. You may also like to research other historic petitions, including those that have been presented to your state or territory parliament.


  1. Divide the class into pairs and ensure each pair has a copy of the Petition scaffold.
  2. Set a timer and tell the students they will have 10 minutes to identify:
    • An issue within the school.
    • A potential solution and write it into the petition scaffold.
  3. Once all the pairs have their petitions ready, put the petitions up on the walls or on tables around the room and give the class a few minutes to look at the ideas on the petitions and decide which ones to sign. Each student may sign a maximum of 3 petitions, so they must choose carefully.

What happened?

  1. At the end of the activity, return the petitions to their writers. Ask each pair to share their ideas and how many signatures their petition received.
  2. Discuss why some ideas got more signatures than others and ask students to share why they signed some petitions and not others.
  3. How could students who did not get as many signatures as they would have liked make changes to their petition to get more signatures?


Petitions are one way to raise awareness or inspire action around the issue. What else can citizens do to highlight issues of concern?