Author: Nicholas Gruen

Lessons from the Hawke and Howard years of Australian governance

In politics, you sign up to a struggle on behalf of those you claim to represent. You owe them everything you can manage to stitch together to achieve victory. If you want to be a grand failure, better to pick religion, philosophy or art. Not politics. So says Nicholas Gruen in this reposting of his 2008 article on Bob Hawke. Read More

What is a ‘policy hack’?

New ways of looking at our complex world can lead to policy hacks with clear and easily identifiable benefits. But do they stand apart from politically-driven reforms? Read More

Citizens’ chambers: towards an activism of selection by lot

Sortition would address the yawning deliberative deficit and weaken many of the pathways by which polarisation, cronyism and party influence occurs, says Nicholas Gruen. In a recent paper, James Fishkin identifies some potential shortcomings of citizens' chambers which justify his own preference for ad hoc, and temporary citizens' panels. He makes some good points. His central concerns are that a citizens' chamber might: have insufficient technical expertise be susceptible to corruption and not maintain the high quality of deliberation achieved in the best ad hoc citizens’ juries. These are legitimate concerns. But they have a 'theoretical' ring to me. Read More