Monday, 11 September 2023
I'd like to update the House on the committee's review of its procedures for the referral of petitions to ministers. Once a petition is presented to the House, the standing orders allow for the Petitions Committee to refer the petition to the minister responsible for the matters raised. The minister is then expected to provide a written response within 90 days. Currently, all petitions are referred to the relevant minister for a response. However, given the significant increase in the number of petitions received by the House since the introduction of electronic petitioning in 2016, the committee is reviewing its approach.
In August, the committee posted an electronic survey on the parliament's website seeking feedback from the public on the issue. As I reported last week, there was an excellent response to the survey, with more than 15,000 people taking the time to share their views. Most survey respondents agreed that a petition should have a minimum number of signatures before it's referred to a minister for response. The majority—76 per cent—supported a threshold of at least 50 or more signatures for the referral of a petition to a minister. This is made up of 15 per cent supporting 50 or more signatures, 26 per cent supporting 100 or more signatures and 36 per cent support 500 or more signatures. The committee is considering these results.
I thank the House.