Australia Post's Stamp Issue Policy

Views 18 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this Guide is helpful

Australia Post produces postage stamps and postal stationery (pre-paid postage items).

Many requests are received each year from members of the public, associations, institutions and government departments for specific subjects to be featured on stamps and postal stationery. Although the range of possible subjects is limitless, for practical reasons not all suggestions can be adopted. While variety in the themes featured on stamps is desirable, this has to be balanced by the needs of the postal system, production capacities (with particular regard to the interests of the philatelic community) and the propriety of particular subject matter. As a consequence, criteria have been established against which potential themes are considered.

During a normal calendar year a maximum of 18 stamp issues is produced. Two of these are definitive issues (stamps released for long-term usage); three comprise the annual Australia Post Australian Legends Award, Queen’s Birthday and Christmas issues; and the remaining 13 are a combination of commemorative themes and subjects proposed by collectors and the public, and informed by regular research.

As this suggests, individual requests for stamp subjects can only be accommodated within the third category. Conformity with the criteria set out below does not guarantee the selection of any individual theme or subject, due to the limited number of stamps issued each year and the need to create a varied and balanced programme. The selection process begins at least two years before the stamps are issued to allow for detailed research, the development of designs, printing and monitoring of stamp production.

What subjects may be featured on stamps?
1. All subjects must be directly related to Australia, be of outstanding national or international interest and/or significance, and enjoy popular acclaim.

2. All subjects must be capable of satisfactory depiction at stamp size.

3. Anniversaries commemorated must be of 50 years or multiples of 50 years.

4. Meetings and conferences may be honoured on commemorative stamps only in very rare circumstances involving heads of national governments.

What subjects may not be featured on stamps?
1. Anniversaries of the death of any individual

2. Matters of interest only to a narrow section of the community, or to a region or to a single state or territory

3. Anniversaries of the founding of a city, town or local government body

4. Anniversaries of events connected with religious organisations, political parties or groups, commercial enterprises or products, and subjects likely to cause public divisiveness

5. Recurring events held in Australia, including awards and festivals, except for Australia Day, Queen’s Birthday, Christmas and major events of philatelic interest.

When may living people be depicted on stamps?
Certain living people may be depicted on Australian stamps and postal stationery in certain circumstances. They are:

1. The monarch and other members of the Royal Family

2. Recipients of the Australia Post Australian Legends Award

3. Australian recipients of the Victoria Cross

4. Australian winners of gold medals at Olympic Games

5. Australian winners of gold medals at Commonwealth Games

6. Unidentified Australians featured as representatives of a group/section of society, rather than as individuals in their own right.

Australian Territories Stamps
Postage stamps are issued by Australia Post for Australia’s Antarctic and Indian Ocean territories: Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Events or anniversaries may be commemorated subject to the same criteria applied to Australian postage stamps. However, a more liberal interpretation of individual provisions may apply because of the infrequency of events or anniversaries associated with Australian territories.

Postal Stationery

Postal stationery consists of pre-paid envelopes, pre-stamped envelopes and aerogrammes. Australia Post receives many worthwhile requests which cannot be featured on stamps. Postal stationery, particularly pre-stamped envelopes, provides another method of honouring events and anniversaries.

Pre-paid and Pre-stamped Envelopes
Pre-paid envelopes illustrate many themes, including flora, fauna, architecture, scenery, flags, emblems and insignia representing the states, territories and Commonwealth of Australia. The envelopes are not printed with a specific denomination.

Pre-stamped envelopes are similar to pre-paid envelopes but the denomination is printed in the stamp area. The following criteria are applied in the selection of subject matter for pre-stamped envelopes:

1. All subjects must be directly related to Australia and of general interest and appeal.

2. Anniversaries commemorated must be of 25 years or multiples of 25 years.

3. Meetings or conferences may be commemorated provided they are held in Australia, are international in participation, at least partly sponsored by the Australian government and are of general interest.

4. Anniversaries of educational, professional, charitable or sporting organisations and institutions may be commemorated, provided that such anniversaries commemorate the founding of such activities in Australia.

Subjects excluded from depiction on pre-stamped envelopes are indicated under ”Postage Stamps”.

Definitive aerogrammes are issued biannually for ongoing postal requirements. One aerogramme is issued in association with the Christmas postage stamps annually.


Suggestions for subjects that meet the criteria for both Australian and Australian territories stamps and postal stationery may be forwarded to:

The Manager
Philatelic Group
Australia Post
GPO Box 1777

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides