Petitions – making your views heard

Australians have long had the right to petition Parliament directly, asking for action to be taken on an issue.

The information on this page explains how to make sure your voice is heard. It is also available as a PDF brochure (647KB).

Making a difference

In early 2008 the House of Representatives changed standing orders (the rules of the House) relating to the way petitions are dealt with, and a Petitions Committee was established to ensure that all petitions presented to the House are considered and receive a response.

All petitions are examined by the Petitions Committee prior to presentation to ensure that they comply with the standing orders. This page provides advice on the technical requirements of a petition. Further advice is available from the Petitions Committee secretariat.

It is hoped that the new arrangements will result in petitions becoming a more effective way of involving the community in the work of the Parliament.

Getting the Petition presented

Petitions can be sent directly to the Petitions Committee for presentation in the House of Representatives.

Alternatively, you can forward your petition to a Member of the House of Representatives, either for them to present personally or for them to pass to the Petitions Committee.

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A Petition must ...

The principal petitioner is the person who initiates, sponsors or organises a petition. Where a group of people is involved, one person must be nominated as the principal petitioner.

The principal petitioner is the contact point for the Petitions Committee to advise about action taken on the petition.
Members of the House of Representatives cannot be principal petitioners or sign a petition.

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Signatures

The House of Representatives sets out certain rules about how signatures can be collected. Further to information shown on the sample front page of a petition overleaf:

Please note: Petitions can not be submitted electronically/online. The Petitions Committee intends to review this policy in due course.

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What happens next?

All petitions that conform with the rules of the House will be presented and their details recorded in Hansard
(the record of parliamentary debates). On behalf of the House, the Petitions Committee may respond to petitions in a range of ways, including:

Details of any ministerial responses will also be recorded in Hansard and on the Committee’s web site. Principal petitioners will be advised of any responses.

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How to prepare a submission

This example is given to help you prepare the front page of a petition however variations in layout are acceptable. Subsequent pages need only have the ‘request’ of the petition, with names and signatures below it.

Sample petition

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More information and assistance

Petitions to the House of Representatives have to follow several rules, so you should contact the Petitions Committee as early as possible (before you start collecting signatures) to ensure your petition can be accepted.

Contact information for the Petitions committee is available from this page.

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About this committee

The Standing Committee on Petitions is appointed under Standing Order 220.

The Committee receives and processes petitions, and inquires into and reports to the House on any matter relating to petitions and the petitions system. After receiving a petition, the Committee will decide if it complies with the Standing Orders.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Committee Secretary
Standing Committee on Petitions
PO Box 6021
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 2152
Fax: +61 2 6277 4627
petitions.committee.reps@aph.gov.au