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Communicate correctly, concisely and consistently: Fund the Style manual (7th edn)

This petition had 874 supporters

Dear Commonwealth Parliament Standing Committee on Publications

The sixth edition of the Style manual has been a document of national significance since 2002 for authors, editors, printers and anyone who publishes under the immediate authority of the Australian Government or under the broader standard of quality associated with Australian Government excellence. Earlier editions were published more frequently: from the first edition in 1966, updates followed in 1972, 1978, 1988 and 1994.

But the current Style manual is now outdated and inadequate; it is losing its authority. An update is overdue to:

  • promote clarity in government documents, both print and digital
  • improve quality of editing and consistency of style
  • save money by providing individual government departments with a standard, rather than each department doubling up by creating its own manual
  • increase productivity and efficiency by providing an authoritative source and allowing people to focus on their area of skill rather than searching multiple (non-Australian) style guides for answers
  • maintain control over standards
  • maintain parity in publication standards with comparable countries such as the UK and Canada.

Even more salient is the extent of change in communication channels and styles since 2002. The rise of user-generated content that marked Web 2.0 was in its infancy in 2002. Now, through the mobile web, people access and generate content wherever they are, whenever they can, through technologies that have only recently had universal reach: smartphones (since 2007) and tablets (since 2010).  

These changes mean there are exponentially more creators and consumers of content. Anyone working in communication for the Australian Government hopes to make government communication clear and concise, with consistent branding, in all these channels. This is the audience for an updated Style manual. This audience wants to use a 7th edition of the Style manual in these channels as well, which means they will require both print and digital editions.

We appeal to the Commonwealth Parliament Standing Committee on Publications to approve funding to start work immediately on the seventh edition of the Style manual.

Yours sincerely

Committee, Society of Editors (Qld) Inc.


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