Frequently asked questions

Welcome to our beta site. We’ve improved things to make it easier for you to sign, create and learn about petitions. Email your feedback to petitions.committee.reps@aph.gov.au

About petitions

  • How long does a petition take?

    Petitions can take months from start to finish. There are multiple stages to complete the process.

    The exact timing for each stage is different for each petition and depends on when the House of Representatives meets.

    For specific timeframes contact the Petitions Committee secretariat.

    To learn more, including to see an overview of the stages of a petition, see the learn about petitioning page.

    Tip: If your petition request is urgent or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

  • What are the stages of a petition?

    Petitions must go through a number of stages.

    The stages for e-petitions and paper petitions are slightly different.

    See the learn about petitioning  page for detailed information on the stages for each type of petition.

    Tip: Each petition stage takes time. If your petition request is urgent or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

  • My request is urgent. What else can I do?

    Try raising your issue in another way.

    You could contact:

    Your Federal Member of Parliament or Senator

    •  The Commonwealth Ombudsman
    • The Administrative Appeals Tribunal
    • The government department or minister responsible for the matter you are concerned about
    • Your state or territory government or local council (if it is a matter for them)

    Tip: The issue you are concerned about may be the subject of a current parliamentary committee inquiry. If so, you may be able to make a submission to an inquiry and have your say that way. You can also read reports of previous inquiries to see what has already been done.

  • What's the difference between e-petitions and paper petitions?

    e-petitions are created online and collect signatures online using the e-petitions system. e-petitions can be shared on social media or via email.

    Paper petitions are created in hard copy and collect handwritten signatures.

    See learn about petitioning and petition rules pages for more information about the different types of petitions.

  • Can I combine an e-petition and a paper petition?

    No.

    e-petitions and paper petitions can’t be combined, even if they have the same reason and request. They will each be treated as separate petitions.

  • Will you accept a change.org or other type of electronic petition?

    No.

    Only e-petitions created using the e-petitions system will be accepted, if they meet all of the rules.

    This is set out in the Standing Orders which are the rules of the House of Representatives (the House).

  • Do petitions work?

    Petitioning is the only direct way that an individual can ask the House of Representatives (the House) to do something.

    The House won’t always do what you have requested but, by petitioning, your concern is brought to the attention of the House and the Minister.

    When your petition is published you can share your petition and ask people sign it. This brings your concern to the attention of other people.

    Together, these actions create awareness for the matter you’re petitioning about.

    If a petition doesn’t suit your circumstances, you could contact:

    • Your Federal Member of Parliament or Senator
    • The Commonwealth Ombudsman
    • The Administrative Appeals Tribunal
    • The Government Department or Minister responsible for the matter you are concerned about
    • Your State or Territory Government or local council (if it’s a matter for them)

    Tip: The issue you are concerned about may be the subject of a current parliamentary committee inquiry. If so, you may be able to make a submission to an inquiry and have your say that way. You can also read reports of previous inquiries to see what has already been done.

  • What does the Petitions Committee do?

    The Petitions Committee oversees the petitioning process.

    The Committee:

    ✔ Receives and processes petitions

    ✔ Checks each petition to make sure they meet the rules

    ✔ Inquires into matters relating to petitioning

    ✔ Refers petitions to the relevant Minister

    The Committee doesn’t:

    ✘ Take action on petitions

    ✘ Debate petitions

    ✘ Check if what the petition says is factual

    ✘ Agree (or disagree) with the content of a petition

    ✘ Make changes to a petition (including spelling or grammar)

  • What's the difference between petitioning the House of Representatives of the Senate?

    The House of Representatives
    Key differences

    • The House Petitions Committee facilitates the receipt and progression of House petitions.
    • Petitions can be presented by the Committee Chair or a Member of Parliament (with their agreement).
    • The House only accepts electronic petitions that have been created through the House’s e-petitions system, if they meet the rules.
    • Petitions presented to the House are referred to a Minister with a request for a response within 90 days.

    Learn more about the rulesfor petitioning the House of Representatives.

    The Senate
    Key differences

    • A Senator must present a petition to the Senate, but you need to get their agreement to do so.
    • The Senate will accept a print out of an electronic petition, if it meets the Senate rules.
    • Petitions presented to the Senate are brought to the notice of the appropriate Senate Committee who can decide whether to take further action or not.

    Learn more about petitioning the Senate.

Petition rules

Creating a petition

  • Can I submit another petition?

    Yes.

    You may submit another petition if it is different to one that you have submitted before, or if it is another attempt at a petition that was not approved.

  • How do I create or sign a petition?

    You can create a petition via the online form.

    You can sign a petition via the petitions list

  • Who can create or sign a petition?

    Any resident or citizen of Australia (except a Member of Parliament) can create or sign a petition.

    Please read the terms and conditions to find out more.

    You don’t have to be over 18 to create or sign a petition.

  • My e-petition is not on the website. Where is it?

    Your e-petition is probably waiting for the Petitions Committee to approve it.

    Before your e-petition is published and can collect signatures, the Committee must make sure that your petition meets the rules.

    The Petitions Committee meets regularly to approve petitions, but there can sometimes be a delay between receiving and publishing your petition.

    ✔ If your petition meets the rules, it will be published after the meeting and you’ll get an email with a link to your petition page.

    ✘ If your petition doesn’t meet the rules, you will get an email after the meeting telling you which rules haven’t been followed and your petition will not be published.

    Contact the Committee secretariat if you would like to know when the Committee is due to meet to consider your petition.

  • Can I change my petition after it has been requested?

    No.

    After you have submitted your petition request it cannot be changed.

    Please contact the Committee secretariat if you have concerns about the petition you have submitted.

    Tip: Write your petition in another document and have someone check before you submit it. This will help you to avoid mistakes.

Signatures

What happens next?

  • Who will present my petition?

    Petitions are usually presented to the House of Representatives (the House) by the Petitions Committee Chair each Monday that the House meets.

    You may ask another Member of Parliament to present your e-petition instead, but they may do this on a different day. You’ll need to make these arrangements and let the Committee secretariat know if this is going to happen.

  • Where is the response to my petition?

    A minister is requested to respond to a petition within 90 days of the petition being presented, but sometimes this can take longer.

    When a response has been received, the Committee must first see it at a meeting. The response is then presented to the House by the Committee Chair, it is published on the petition webpage and the principal petitioner is notified.

    The Committee usually meets each week that the House meets.

    The Petitions Committee Chair usually presents Ministerial responses each Monday that the House meets.

  • Which minister will my petition be referred to?

    Your petition will usually be referred to the Minister who is responsible for the matter that you are petitioning about.

    Example

    • If your petition is regarding university fees it will be referred to the Minister for Education
    • If your petition requests lower taxes it will be referred to the Treasurer
  • I'm unsatisfied with the ministerial response to my petition. What can I do?

    You may contact the Minister that provided the response for further information.

    You may also raise you concern with:

    • Your Federal Member of Parliament or Senator
    • The Commonwealth Ombudsman
    • The Administrative Appeals Tribunal
    • The government department or minister responsible for the matter you are concerned about

Privacy

  • Is my personal information secure?

    Any personal information that we collect from you is held in a secure database and not used for any purpose other than what it was provided for.

    If you create a petition, your name will be published online if your petition is approved. Your contact details are not published but they will be used to provide you with updates about your petition, to ask you a question or to provide you with more information about your petition. Your name and your contact details are included in the final petition presented to the House of Representatives (the House).

    If you sign an e-petition, your email address is only used to verify your signature. Your name is not provided to the principal petitioner and it is not published online, but it is included in the final petition presented to the House.

    If you sign a paper petition, your details are not published online but they are included in the final petition presented to the House. 

    We will never publish your contact details, such as phone number or email address, online or share your information with anyone else.

    Find out more:

  • Can I see who has signed my e-petition?

    You can only see how many people have signed your e-petition.

    The names and details of people who have signed an e-petition aren’t published online. Names only are included in the final e-petition presented to the House of Representatives (the House).

    Find out more: