Australian House of Reps to accept online petitions

Australians will be able to petition their federal Members of Parliament from the Parliament House website shortly.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Australian e-petition process
(Image: Australian Parliament House)

The need for Australians to head to change.org to demand a Royal Commission into whatever topic they wish has abated, with the Parliament House site now allowing citizens to submit online petitions for consideration by the House of Representatives directly.

Speaker Tony Smith yesterday informed the House that the petitioning system began in October last year was now complete.

"The system and website have not been activated as the House will need to consider amendments to the standing orders to allow the establishment of an e-petitions system," Smith said. "I understand those amendments are part of a package of changes to standing orders to be considered by the House shortly."

The House Standing Committee on Petitions will be responsible for deciding which electronic and paper petitions make their way into the chamber for consideration.

"It will enable members of the public to enter and sign petitions online and track the progress of any petition as it is presented, referred, and responded to," the speaker said. "This new development will update the petitions system and make it easier for members of the public to petition the House."

A spokesperson for the Department of the House of Representatives told ZDNet the system was developed by the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of Parliamentary Services within existing resources.

The Australian Senate already accepts printouts of electronic petitions to be presented by senators.

The Australian government has been rushing to digitise itself recently, especially after the establishment of the Digital Transformation Office (DTO) last year.

One of the projects the DTO has been working on is the creation of a federated digital identity framework to allow a single login to access government services.

The government has also worked to open up non-sensitive data by default, with the Australian Geocoded National Address File and Administrative Boundaries datasets now freely available.

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