To what extent are Australians involved in civic action?

Around 1 in 3 Australians reported participating in civic action of some kind in 2022

Participating in a democracy often involves civic action. Australians are thought to be good at helping one another, but are we willing to become involved at a civic level? How active are Australians in civic action such as signing a petition or contacting a parliamentarian?

The 2022 Australian Community Survey (2022 ACS), by NCLS Research, asked Australians this question in December when we surveyed over 3000 people aged 18 years and over.  It is worth noting that some activities may have been curtailed during 2022 due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, however just over 1 in 3 Australians (36%) reported participating in civic action of some kind at the end of the year.

Petitions and contacting an MP most common civic actions

Three in 10 Australians surveyed say they have signed a petition, and just over one in 10 have written or spoken to a Federal or State Member of Parliament, making these the most common civic actions.

Lower proportions report having joined the boycott of a product or company, or attended a protest march or demonstration.

More than half (58%) say they have not participated in any of the civic actions listed and 6% prefer not to say.


Civic actions of Australians

Signed a petition


Written or spoken to a Federal or
State Member of Parliament


Joined a boycott of a product or company


Attended a protest, march or demonstration


None of the above


Prefer not to say


Source: 2022 Australian Community Survey, by NCLS Research (n= 3,090).  Respondents could select more than one response.

Factors impacting civic action

The 2022 ACS results show that while a third of Australians were willing and able to sign a petition, smaller numbers reported participating in other civic actions. 

Given many social activities were prohibited during lockdowns and social isolation periods, through 2021-2022, these lower results may come as no surprise, as people were unable to fully participate in community life throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It will be interesting to see if involvement in civic action returns to its previous levels, when we next survey Australians in the ACS, due in late 2023. As community life continues to regain its usual patterns of public gatherings and group participation, we will be watching to see whether civic actions increase again.

Data Sources:

2021 and 2022 Australian Community Survey, by NCLS Research

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