Petitioning has been described as 'the oldest of all parliamentary forms' and is 'the only direct means by which an individual or group can ask the Parliament to take action'. As such, the House of Representatives should therefore provide an open and accessible petitioning process that allows people to readily exercise their right to petition.
In 2007, the House Standing Committee on Procedure recommended the introduction of an e-petitioning system to align with the expectations of petitioners and the societal shift toward online communication.
The design of the system was intended to be, as much as possible, 'no more prohibitive than creating or signing a paper petition' and was created in the spirit of maintaining openness and accessibility for all Australians.
The Committee continues to balance its responsibilities to provide an open and accessible petitioning system with one that also provides the security required to uphold the integrity of the petitioning process. This inquiry is part of the Committee’s ongoing role in maintaining the balance between security and accessibility.