House of Representatives Petitions

Petitioning the House of Representatives

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.

How do petitions work?

  1. You create a petition. You can create a petition on the House’s e-petition website or you can create a paper petition. There is advice on preparing a paper petition here.
  2. Once you’ve created your petition, the Petitions Committee will check it to make sure it complies with the requirements. The Committee will only reject petitions that don’t meet the requirements. There is more information on the requirements here.
  3. Your petition will be placed on the House’s e-petition website and is ready to collect signatures. It will be open for signatures for 4 weeks and you can promote it as widely as you like. The minimum number of signatures required is one.
  4. After your petition’s signing period closes, or if you have sent a paper petition which meets the requirements, it will be presented to the House of Representatives by the Chair of the Petitions Committee or your local Member, if you have organised for this to happen.
  5. Petitions presented to the House are referred by the Petitions Committee to the Minister who is responsible for the subject area of the petition. The Minister will send a response to the Petitions Committee which will also be tabled to the House and you will be sent a copy.

Requirements for Petitions

The requirements for petitions are based on the House of Representatives Standing Orders which are the rules of procedure for the House. The Standing Orders can be found here.

When writing your petition, ask yourself:

  • Does it ask the House to do something and explain the reasons why you want this to occur?
  • Is what you have asked the House to do a matter where the House can act? This usually means something that the Federal Government is responsible for.
    • For example
      • We therefore ask the House to adjust the limit of science allocated to the Australian primary and secondary schools curriculum
      • The petitioners request that the House keep a Medicare office where it is currently located
  • Have you used moderate language?

Make sure your petition is:

  • about something that the House of Representatives is responsible for (the House cannot take any action on issues that are the responsibility of individuals, local councils, State or Territory governments or private companies)
  • addressed to the Speaker and the House for example not the Prime Minister or an individual Minister
  • clear what you are asking for
  • does not promotes illegal acts and
  • does not contains language that is offensive.

All petitions are limited to 250 words. Please don’t send in attachments such as letters, photos or other documentation as these will not be considered by the Committee or able to be returned.

If your petition is rejected, you’ll be told why and we will suggest other ways you can raise your issues.

More information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Paper petitions

In addition to the general requirements for petitions there are some extra requirements for paper petitions. Before you start collecting signatures you should check very carefully that your petition meets all the requirements, particularly the word count of 250 words and the content. Please make sure that:

  • The terms of your petition are at the top of the first page with the request (what you are asking the House to do) on the following pages.
  • Your full name, address and either an email address or phone number is on the front page of the petition. These will not be published but enable us to contact you.
  •  If your petition is in a language other than English it is accompanied by a certified translation.
  • All signatures on your paper petition are originals (only petitioners who can’t sign can ask someone else to sign on their behalf).

Submitting a petition

The easiest way to submit a petition is via the House of Representatives e-petition website. You can enter your petition into the system, verify your email address and then your petition is ready to be considered. Once considered, it will be available to be signed.

Paper petitions are welcome but they may take longer to be processed due to needing to be checked and counted. Paper petitions should be submitted by post using the following address:

Standing Committee on Petitions
PO Box 6021
House of Representatives
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600
AUSTRALIA

Standing Committee on Petitions

The House of Representatives has a Standing Committee on Petitions which receives and processes petitions on behalf of the House. The Petitions Committee 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
  •  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.

Need more assistance?

Email

You can email the Petitions Committee secretariat. We can provide advice on the requirements for petitions, assist with the technical issues of the e-petitions website and give you more information on how petitions are received by the House. We can’t provide advice on issues raised in your petition or feedback to people who start a petition.

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

Phone

You can call the Petitions Committee secretariat. Due to the volume of calls we receive, we may not be able to return your call immediately. If you need information quickly, you can find it on this website or you can send us an email. We can provide advice on the requirements for petitions, assist with the technical issues of the e-petitions website and give you more information on how petitions are received by the House. We can’t provide advice on issues raised in your petition or feedback to people who start a petition.

Phone: (02) 6277 2152