"Do petitions have to be tabled in Parliament once they are given to a member?"

Thank you for asking about petitions – an important way citizens can ask the Australian Parliament to help them with a problem.

Petitions can be addressed to either the House of Representatives or the Senate. When presented with a petition, a member of the House of Representatives or a senator usually accepts it regardless of whether they agree with the topic. If a petition meets the rules, it will then be brought before the Parliament.

In the House of Representatives a petition can be addressed to the Standing Committee on Petitions or a member of the House of Representatives. Either the Standing Committee Chairperson or the member will bring the petition before the House of Representatives.

In the Senate, a petition must be forwarded to a senator to be presented to the Senate. The petition is then given to the Clerk who brings the petition before the Senate.

When a petition is brought before either the House of Representatives or the Senate, it is said to be ‘tabled’. This means the petition is physically placed on the central table of that house. It also means the petition is now part of the records of the house.

More information about petitions can be found in this Fact Sheet and this House of Representatives InfoSheet.

diagram to help explain Do petitions have to be tabled in Parliament once they are given to a member?