House of Representatives Petitions

A petition is basically a request for action. The right to petition Federal Parliament has been one of the rights of citizens since Federation, and it is the only way an individual can directly place their grievances before Parliament. Petitions may be received by the House on individual or public grievances provided they relate to matters on which the House has the power to act. Hundreds of petitions are received by the House every year on a variety of matters.

The House of Representatives has a Standing Committee on Petitions which receives and processes petitions on behalf of the House. The Committee is able to inquire into and report on matters relating to the petitioning process. All petitions presented in the House are published on the Committee's website.

Preparing a Petition

Care must be taken to prepare petitions, as the House has rules about their form and content. Before preparing a petition, we encourage you to read the relevant Infosheet, use the sample petition provided and consult the checklist below to assist you in drafting your petition.

The Petitions Committee also encourages petitioners to submit their draft petition to the Petitions Committee Secretariat to check that the petition conforms with Standing Orders before signatures are collected.

Please note that an electronic petitioning system is not yet available.

Petitions checklist

Please be aware that a petition must:

  • be addressed to the House of Representatives;
  • refer to a matter on which the House of Representatives has the power to act (falls within the legislative or administrative power of the House—some matters are the responsibility of State or Territory Governments, local authorities or private entities);
  • first explain the issue the petition concerns (‘reasons’), and second, make a request of the House to take a specified course of action (‘request for action’);
  • use a maximum of 250 words (this includes the address to the House of Representatives, the ‘reasons’ and the ‘request for action');
  • have a front (first) page which provides the terms of the petition (address to the House of Representatives, 'reasons' and 'request for action') along with the original signature, full name and address of a principal petitioner (the person responsibile for the petition). Please note, the principal petitioner's contact details will not be published in Hansard or on the Committee's webpage; 
  • be written in language which is moderate in nature;
  • not promote illegal acts;
  • if written in a language other than English, must be accompanied by a certified translation, including contact details of the translator;
  • consist only of original, hand written signatures (photocopies, faxes or electronic signatures are not accepted);
  • contain all signatures on pages which detail at least the request for action exactly as on the first page of the petition; and
  • not contain attachments, letters, photos or supporting documentation. These will be returned to the principal petitioner.

Petitioners are encouraged to:

  • send a copy of the text of their proposed petition to the Petitions Committee Secretariat for feedback before signatures are collected. (Please note, this action is not compulsory, only encouraged, to help petitioners prepare petitions that conform with the Standing Orders.)

The Secretariat can be contacted at:

 

Standing Committee on Petitions

PO Box 6021

House of Representatives

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

AUSTRALIA

 

Phone: 61 2 6277 2152

Fax: 61 2 6277 4627

Email: petitions.committee.reps@aph.gov.au

 

 Action on petitions

After the Petitions Committee recieves a petition, it will assess whether it complies with Standing Orders. Petitions found to be in order will then be presented to the House of Representatives and included on the Committee’s website. The Committee may also refer presented petitions to the relevant Minister for a response. When the Minister has responded, the Committee will consider the response, the response will be presented and recorded in Hansard and then the response will be sent to the principal petitioner.

If the Committee finds a petition does not comply with the Standing Orders, it will be returned to the principal petitioner.

Submitting a petition

Petitions should be submitted by post. The Committee’s address is:

Standing Committee on Petitions

PO Box 6021

House of Representatives

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

AUSTRALIA

 

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