Frequently asked questions

1. Who can create a petition?

Any resident of Australia can create a petition.

2.  What is an e-petition?

An e-petition is a petition that people may sign through the House of Representatives e-petition website.

3.  Is there any difference between a paper and an e-petition?

There is no difference between the two forms of petitions in terms of being presented to the House. There are some extra requirements for paper petitions which are available here.

4. I submitted an e-petition but it's not on the website. Where is it?

Before a petition appears on the website, it is assessed by the Petitions Committee to see if it meets the petition requirements.

The need to check that each petition meets these requirements may result in a delay between when a petition is submitted and when it appears online. The Petitions Committee meets regularly, and there should not be too much of a delay. If you are concerned with the progress of your petition, please email the secretariat of the Petitions Committee.

5. Who should I address my petition to?

A petition must be addressed to the Speaker and the Members of the House of Representatives

  • not to the Prime Minister
  • not to an individual Minister
  • not ‘to whom it may concern’.

6. What are the terms of a petition?

The terms of a petition consist of:

the reason that you are writing to the House

  • For example - This petition of certain citizens of Australia draws the attention of the House’s to the importance of learning a second language in school

the request is what you are asking the House to do.

  • For example - We therefore ask the House to ensure that a second language is a key requirement of the National Schools Curriculum.

7. When will my petition be published online?

Before a petition appears on the website, it is assessed by the Petitions Committee. The Petition Committee will check that a petition:

  • is addressed correctly (e.g. “The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives”)
  • is about a matter on which the House has the power to act
  • is written using moderate language
  • does not promote illegal acts and
  •  is in English.

The need to check that each petition meets these requirements may result in a delay between when a petition is submitted and when it appears online.  Paper petitions will be available online once they have been presented to the House.

8.  How many signatures do I need?

The minimum number of signatures required is one (1). The person requesting the petition (the 'Principal Petitioner') is the first signature on each petition.

9. I have a petition on another site (eg change.org). Can I add those signatures to this one?

The House can only accept e-petitions that have been submitted via its e-petitions website. Signatures from other electronic or paper petitions cannot be added to your petition.

10. Who presents my petition to the House?

Your petition will be presented by the Chair of the Petitions Committee unless you have made arrangements for it to be presented by another Member of the House of Representatives.

11. How do I organise for my local member to present my petition?

You will need to contact your local member and seek their agreement to present your petition. If they agree, please contact the secretariat of the Petitions Committee by email to let them know and they will organise for your petition to be sent to that Member to be presented. Please note, once the petition has been sent to the individual Member, it becomes the responsibility of the Member and their staff until presented.

12. I have collected signatures online/on paper. How will I know when my petition is to be presented?

If your petition is to be presented by the Chair of the Petitions Committee it is anticipated that it will be presented at the commencement of sittings on sitting Mondays.

If your petition is to be presented by your local Member, you will need to contact their office to find out when they intend to present it. 

13. I’m not sure whether my petition meets the requirements, how can I get help?

Please check the information available on our website here, including contact details of the secretariat of the Petitions Committee.

14.  Will my personal details be published?

If you are creating a petition, as the principal petitioner, your name will be published online with your petition, but not your address, telephone number or email address. Your full name and address will be included in the final petition presented to the House of Representatives.

If you are signing a petition, your personal details will not be published online. Your name will be included in the final petition presented to the House of Representatives.

15. Can the Petitions Committee inquire into the issue raised in my petition?

While the Petitions Committee cannot inquire into the issue raised in your petition it can:

  • write to you for more information
  • invite you to talk to the Committee in person about your petition – this might be in Parliament House or somewhere else in Australia, and
  • refer your petition to the Minister responsible for the subject area of your petition.

More information on the committee can be found on their website.