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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

Is our democracy broken?

While many Australians are still coming to terms with having five Prime Ministers in as many years, what does the future look like for the world’s sixth oldest continuous democracy? Read More

The West’s age of retreat

Liberal democracy is in an age of retreat and needs to re-engage citizens, tackle inequality and end internet monopolies, argues a University of Melbourne expert. Read More

The information that democracy needs

LONG READ: Without a decent flow of information in this popular democracy, how can we have anything like our “equal share” in its power, asks Bret Walker SC in the Whitlam Oration 2018. Read More

Australians want more democracy, research shows

Three-quarters of Australians want a federal ICAC and a majority want a greater say in what government does. New research has been published just as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull entertains a corruption watchdog rethink of his own. Read More

Why local council elections are undemocratic

Through quirks of history that give votes for corporations and extra votes to property owners, local government elections in five Australian states are subject to unfair rules that have no place in Australia’s 21st-century democracy, argues Ryan Goss. Read More