I am pleased that, in a review of the standing orders of WA Parliament tabled today, the powerful Procedure and Privileges Committee has recommended a trial of e-petitions in Western Australia.
In my submission to this review, I argued that e-petitions:
- Provide a greater degree of accessibility between voters and their elected representatives;
- Are a more environmentally friendly solution for voicing grievances than printing and collecting large amounts of paper; and
- Remove the barriers that people in rural and regional areas face in terms of organising to collect a petition.
I’m particularly pleased that the committee has endorsed the Victorian model of e-petitions – which I recommended in my submission – that includes:
- A portal on the parliamentary website where voters can initiate new petitions and where existing petitions are displayed;
- A screening process where the Parliamentary Clerk can ensure that a petition is valid and adheres to the parliamentary guidelines
- An in-built fraud detection mechanism where the parliament can ensure that petitioners are Australian citizens who are enrolled to vote in WA.
I note that the Legislative Council will consider the recommendations of this report sometime next week.
I urge my parliamentary colleagues to hark back on their democratic sensibilities, and to support a reform that will improve our democracy for the better.