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Factsheet No. 8 - Petitions

Factsheet No. 8 - Petitions

Petitioning the Parliament is one of the most traditional and direct ways that individuals can place their views or concerns about a matter before the Parliament. This factsheet explains the petitioning process in the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales, including how individuals can have petitions presented to the Assembly, the differences between paper and ePetitions and what happens after a petition has been received.


  • Introduction
  • How do individuals petition the Legislative Assembly?
  • What role do Members play?
  • What happens next?


Petitions allow members of the public to directly place their issues before the Parliament.  A petition helps raise awareness of an issue and lets Members know what action the community wants the Parliament to take, but it can't force the Government to take action.

How do individuals petition the Legislative Assembly?

There are two ways to petition the Legislative Assembly:  

  1. online ePetitions; or 
  2. paper petitions. 

The process for creating them is slightly different but common principles apply to both.      

All petitions must:

  • be addressed to 'the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly'.
  • set out the facts which the petitioners are bringing to the attention of the Legislative Assembly (also called 'the grievance')
  • have a clear request that the Assembly do something (also called 'the prayer') be 'respectful, decorous and temperate' in language.

All petitions must not:

  • make reference to any debate in Parliament.
  • have letters, affidavits or other documents attached.
  • be signed (as a petitioner) by the Member presenting the petition.

The full rules and process for ePetitions and paper petitions are contained in the Legislative Assembly's Standing and Sessional Orders.

What role do Members Play?

A petition must be presented by a Member of the Legislative Assembly on behalf of the petitioners. It does not have to be your local Member and the Member does not have to agree with or support the petition to present it.

Members must sign the front sheet of any paper petition that they present and, if applicable, certify that the petition has 500 or more signatures, or 10,000 or more signatures.

For ePetitions, a Member must agree to present the ePetition before the ePetition is open for signatures. Once the ePetition is closed for signatures, it is considered to have been presented by the Member and is reported in the House.

What happens next?

The Clerk announces receipt of petitions after Question Time each sitting day. Petitions with more than 10,000 signatures (or 20,000 in the case of ePetitions) are announced by the Speaker.

The subject matter of petitions and names of the Members that lodge them are published in the Votes and Proceedings, and the terms of the petitions are printed in Hansard.

A copy of each petition received is sent to the Minister responsible for the subject matter of the petition. 

Ministers are required to provide a response to petitions signed by 500 or more persons. Responses must be provided within 35 calendar days from the date a petition is received. The response is also reported to the House and published in the Votes and Proceedings and Hansard.

Petitions are Tabled Papers and are published on the website along with the Ministers' answers.

Petitions of more than 10,000 signatures (or 20,000 for ePetitions) have a 'take note debate' in the Legislative Assembly on dates published on the Parliament's website and in the Business Paper.