In an earlier post on the Open Government Initiative of the Obama Administration, I mentioned an Australian experiment called the Citizens Parliament. Here is the background piece on a video showing a clip from John Dryzek’s presentation to the Australian Senate on the results of the 2009 gathering. Since this is a clip from a much longer presentation, it ends a little abruptly on a critical point about the government’s response to the Citizens Parliament recommendations. In the next post, I’ll go into that important issue in more detail in relation to deliberative democracy generally. The full text of the Dryzek speech can be found on the Australian Senate web page.
In February 2009, a group of 150 randomly-selected Australian citizens were brought together at Old Parliament House in Canberra. Called “The Citizens Parliament”, the group spent four days discussing politics, policy, and systems of parliament. While the specific subjects under consideration were not prescribed, the attendees were asked to address the broad question:
“How Can Australia’s Political System be Strengthened to Serve Us Better?” Here, speaking as part of the Department of the Senate Occasional Lecture series, political scientist John Dryzek reports back on the event.
John Dryzek is a pioneer in the field of deliberative democracy, and has written several books on the subject, including “Discursive Democracy” and “Deliberative Global Politics”. He is a professor of Political Science at the Australian National University.