Learn about petitioning

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What’s a petition?

A petition to the House of Representatives (the House) is a request for the House to take action on something that it, or the Federal Government, is responsible for.  Other people can show their support for a petition by signing it.

Petitions can be electronic (e-petitions) or in hard copy (paper petitions).

How do petitions work?

e-petitions and paper petitions work a bit differently. e-petitions must be approved by the Petitions Committee before signatures can be collected. Paper petitions can collect signatures first, and then they go to the Committee for approval.

Both types of petitions must meet the rules to be approved.

Stages of an e-petition

  • At a glance
    At a glance stages of an e-petition workflow process
  • In detail

    1. Request e-petition

    To create an e-petition you must use the online form to submit an e-petition request.

    You should think carefully about what you are asking for and make sure your petition request follows the rules.


    2. Certification

    After your e-petition request is submitted, the Petitions Committee will decide if it meets the rules.

    • If your e-petition meets the rules, it will be certified and published on the petitions list for 4 weeks for people to sign. You will get an email when this happens.
    • If your e-petition does not meet the rules it will not be published and people cannot sign it. You will get an email when this happens that will say what rules have not been followed.


    Tip: The Petitions Committee usually meets to decide on petitions each week that the House of Representatives meets. Sometimes there can be a long time between meetings and it can take a while for your petition to be certified. If your petition request is urgent or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.


    3. Collect signatures

    If your e-petition meets the rules and has been certified, it will be published on the petitions list for 4 weeks for people to sign.

    Your e-petition will have its own webpage and you can share a link to this page for people to sign and share.

    Tip: If you share your petition link more people will see your petition and may sign it.


    4. Presentation

    After your e-petition has closed for collecting signatures, it will be presented in the House of Representatives (the House).

    This is usually done by the Petitions Committee Chair each Monday that the House meets.

    You may ask another Member of Parliament to present your e-petition instead. You will need to make these arrangements and let the Committee Secretariat know if this is going to happen.

    Tip: Sometimes there can be a long time between meetings of the House and it can take a while for your e-petition to be presented. If your e-petition request is urgent, or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.


    5. Referral to a Minister

    After your e-petition is presented it will usually be referred to a Minister. The Minister is asked to provide you with a response to the request in your e-petition.

    The Minister is asked to respond to your e-petition within 90 days. Sometimes this can take longer.

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


    6. Response received

    When a response to your e-petition is received, it must be seen by the Petitions Committee.

    The Committee usually meets to see responses each week that the House of Representatives meets.

    Tip: Sometimes there can be a long time between Committee meetings. If your e-petition request is urgent, or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.


    7. Response presented

    After the Committee has seen the Minister’s response to your e-petition, it must get presented in the House of Representatives (the House).

    This is done by the Petitions Committee Chair every Monday that the House meets.

    When the response to your e-petition has been presented it will be published on the webpage for your e-petition. You will get an email when this has been done with a link to a copy of the response.

    This is the final stage for your e-petition.

    Tip: Sometimes there can be a long time between meetings of the House and it can take a while for your response to be presented. If your e-petition request is urgent, or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

Stages of a paper petition

  • At a glance
    At a glance stages of a paper petition workflow process
  • In detail

    1. Create petition

    To create a paper petition you can use our online form or make your own from our template.

    You must make sure your petition follows the rules, so you should check these first. You should also read our frequently asked questions (FAQs)

    You can also contact us if you need help.

    The first page of your petition must:

    be addressed to the House of Representatives

    include a reason for your petition and a request (no more than 250 words)

    include your details and signature as the Principal Petitioner

    The second and other pages of your petition must:

    include the petition reason at the top of each page and space for people to sign

    Tip: You should think carefully about what your petition is asking for and make sure it follows the rules before you collect signatures.

     

    2. Collect signatures

    When you are sure that your petition meets the rules you can collect signatures.

    Each signature on a paper petition must:

    be original and signed by hand

    certify that they are a citizen or resident of Australia

    not be a photocopy or a typed from a computer

    not be changed or altered

    When you have finished collecting signatures you must post all pages of your petition (including the front page) to the Petitions Committee Secretary:

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

     

    3. Certification

    When received, the Petitions Committee will decide if your petition meets the rules.

    The signatures on your petition will also be counted, but only those that meet the rules.

    If your petition meets it will be certified and your name and the petition details will published on the petitions list.
    (we do not publish your personal details or the details of people who have signed)

    If your petition does not meet the rules it will not be published. We will email you to tell you if this happens and why, and will return your petition to you by post.

    Tip: The Petitions Committee usually meets to decide on petitions each week that the House of Representatives meets. Sometimes there can be a long time between meetings and it can take a while for your petition to be certified. If your petition request is urgent or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

     

    4. Presentation

    After your petition has been certified it will be presented in the House of Representatives (the House).

    This is usually done by the Petitions Committee Chair each Monday that the House meets.

    You may ask another Member of Parliament to present your petition instead. You will need to make these arrangements and let the Committee secretariat know if this is going to happen.

    Tip: Sometimes there can be a long time between meetings of the House and it can take a while for your petition to be presented. If your petition request is urgent, or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

     

    5. Referral to a Minister

    After your petition is presented it will usually be referred to a Minister. The Minister is asked to provide you with a response to the request in your petition.

    The Minister is asked to respond to your petition within 90 days. Sometimes this can take longer.

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

     

    6. Response received

    When a response to your petition is received, it must be seen by the Petitions Committee.

    The Committee usually meets to see responses each week that the House of Representatives meets.

    Tip: Sometimes there can be a long time between Committee meetings. If your petition request is urgent, or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

     

    7. Response presented

    After the Committee has seen the Minister’s response to your petition, it must get presented in the House of Representatives (the House).

    This is done by the Petitions Committee Chair every Monday that the House meets.

    When the response to your petition has been presented it will be published on the webpage for your e-petition. You will get an email when this has been done with a link to a copy of the response.

    This is the final stage for your petition.

    Tip: Sometimes there can be a long time between meetings of the House and it can take a while for your response to be presented. If your petition request is urgent, or you need a quick response, consider raising your issue in another way.

Infosheet - petitioning history and statistics

Click here for access to the petitioning infosheet to learn more about petitioning history and some interesting statistics.