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STATEMENT: I've identified a big problem with our democracy

An important part of our democracy has effectively been ruled out by Covid-19.

The act of peacefully petitioning a government for the redress of grievances is no longer possible in Western Australia. At least, not in the age of Covid-19.

In most other states, you can start a petition online, circulate it on social media and present it to policymakers who are required to consider and respond to it.

In Western Australia you can't do that because Western Australia is one of only two states in Australia where e-petitions do not carry any legal weight.

Now more than ever - in the age of lockdowns and state disaster councils – it’s important for people to be able to hold their government to account.

How on earth can you do that when, at times, you're not allowed to leave your house, and it would be irresponsible for you to thrust into the hands of your neighbour a pen and a piece of paper?

People in rural and regional areas are particularly disadvantaged by the current system because it requires them to travel vast distances to collect signatures.

If the Government is serious about using their newfound double-majority in a responsible manner, they will commit to making e-petitions a reality as part of their proposed reform of electoral laws.

I note that the Procedure and Privileges Committee is currently carrying out a review of the standing orders of WA Parliament. I sincerely hope that the committee makes some recommendations regarding e-petitions.

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