Friday, September 05, 2008

ePetitions proposed for UK parliament

Last month the UK government endorsed a recommendation to accept ePetitions through the parliamentary website.

As reported in, this builds on the experience of the 10 Downing Street website, which has accepted ePetitions since November 2006.

Under the recommendation electronic petitions will be hosted on the UK parliament’s website, allowing individuals to add their names and choose to receive updates on a petition's process.

In the past, using paper-based petitions, there has been an average of 100 petitions per year, with the largest receiving 4.5 million signatures.

ePetitions in the UK have already proven to be even more successful. In its first year, the 10 Downing Street site saw more than 29 000 petitions submitted, carrying a total of 5.8 million signatures.

Other nations have also successfully introduced ePetitions, with New Zealand's Wellington city council holding regular ePetitions via the council website.

In Australia Queensland has also held ePetitions via it's Get Involved website. The state has taken the further step of commercialising their ePetitions technology (PDF), turning it into a government revenue stream.

Tasmania has also held ePetitions on a trial basis via the Parliament of Tasmania ePetition site.

Perhaps this reflects another way in which representative democracy can move closer to pure democracy, allowing interested parties to have influential involvement in major legislative change.

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