This study ascertained the relationships of patient, practitioner and consultation factors with: 1. taking a Pap smear or referral to a specialist in the consultation; and 2. an unsuccessful offer to take a Pap smear or making an appointment for a smear. In a cross-sectional study of 3478 women presenting to 230 randomly selected general practitioners in Brisbane and Toowoomba, information about most recent Pap smear, screening in the consultation, and independent variables were collected from patients and doctors. Relationships between three levels of outcome variable (no action, Pap smear taken or referral, appointment or refusal), and independent variables (practitioner variables, consultation variables, patient variables) were modelled using polytomous logistic regression. Presenting for a routine checkup and breast cancer screening were associated with all types of action. Younger age, longer consultations and consultations with a female practitioner were associated with Pap smear taking and referrals, and not appointments or refusals. Being due for a Pap smear, having blood pressure measured, consulting a younger general practitioner and one who ascribed to current guidelines on screening were associated with an appointment or a refusal, when compared with no action. Results identify different profiles of those who get a Pap smear and those who do not, the former indicating a more proactive patient group, while the latter suggest more active general practitioners who attempted opportunistic screening of passive patients, or women who do not specifically seek Pap smears. We have identified factors that have significance for developing public health programs focused on consumers and providers.