Online petitioning and politics: the development of in Australia

Darren Halpin, Ariadne Vromen, Michael Vaughn, Mahin Raissi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Online petitions are an important feature of contemporary political engagement in advanced democracies. In this paper we report on a unique data set – covering a five year period and over 17,000 petitions – documenting the development of the platform in Australia. Australia presents an interesting case as, until very recently, there was no national government hosted online petition site. Our analysis results in three findings that advance scholarship on online petitions. First, we find the majority of petitions are in fact targeted at government, and that their issue area is of a political nature. Second, we find that most signers of petitions sign a single petition – they are not serial participants. Finally, we show that ‘super users’ of the online petition system engage broadly as well as often. Together these findings demonstrate that online petition creation and signing – even on commercial platforms – is a distinct and important part of citizen engagement in politics
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)428–445
    JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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