In Praise of Citizen’s Parliament: A model for partnership working between state and citizen
22 October 2010 Leave a comment
Citizens Parliament in Australia has shown a good example of a way to get citizens involved in politics in a non-conventional manner. 150 citizens were convened to consider ways of improving the governmental system and they then presented their recommendations to parliament.You can watch a video of the process here:
What was successful was that they attracted wide publicity and engaged top government leadership. Most importantly though they created a positive experience for the participants and generated a sense of empowerment and enthusiasm about public policy and the political process. The Citizens Parliament allowed a large number of people to deliberate in individually facilitated small groups which used electronic voting technology to instantaneously show trending and final policy preferences.
This project did not focus on a single issue but encouraged participants to develop ideas on the general theme of reform government so that it could better serve people’s needs. However, the application is much wider than a repetition of this in the UK. This is a potential model for collaboration and partnership between citizens and government and used in the right way can foster empowerment for many on many different issues.