Journal article

Petitioning the Australian Parliament: reviving a dying democratic tradition

22 Aug 2016

The right to petition Parliament for redress of grievances spans many centuries. For much of this time, petitions served a key role in bringing the concerns of the people directly before Parliament for consideration and debate. In the Australian Parliament, petitioning has long been in decline. This led to reforms in 2008, including the establishment of a Petitions Committee and an expectation that Ministers will respond to petitions within 90 days. However, these have had limited success, and the process remains moribund. By contrast, other jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Scotland, Canada, and several Australian states and a territory have reformed their petitioning processes with greater success. This article examines the right to petition in Australia’s federal Parliament with a view to determining whether reforms like those undertaken in other jurisdictions should be adopted.

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