Let’s change how politics
Politics isn’t working, but what’s the answer?
They’re called Citizens’ Assemblies.
They bring a mix of people together by lottery and give them access to subject matter experts, credible sources and plenty of time to properly have a say on the important issues that affect our everyday lives.
Click here to read more about where citizens’ assemblies have already worked.
The need to win elections incentivises all the things we don’t like about politics. Think constant negativity, lack of long-term solutions, and never-ending focus on campaigning.
Instead, we can choose people from all walks of life by democratic lottery to form a citizens’ assembly to help politicians make decisions with everybody’s benefit in mind. They’d be truly representative and not fighting with one another for the sake of it.
We can have a better system with people like you free to actually listen, learn, and work with each other to address our issues and agree on solutions.
8 in 10 Australians think
it’s time to Change Politics*
To make this happen, we’re going to have to leverage the system we want to change.
Right now, most politicians think voters don’t care about democratic reform but they want your votes so if we can prove that enough people care, they’ll need to listen.
We’re building a large group of support (your signatures) and targeting specific electorates (why we ask for your postcode) to reach the MPs that we know have influence. We’ll use this public support and speak with these MPs to demonstrate that there is a better way. Not to get too technical, but if an MP has a 1500 vote majority, and we have 2000 people in their electorate that support this change, they’ll take notice.
That’s why we’re asking for you, your friends, families and colleagues to simply add your name below to the growing number of people who want to change politics.
We’re already operating citizens’ assemblies with governments to demonstrate their efficacy and we’re busy advocating for more, but our efforts and impact will be amplified with your support.
Now you might be wondering…
What happens during a citizens’ assembly?
They take a representative mix of everyday people, chosen by lottery and bring them together for 40-50 hours over the course of a few months to address a specific challenge posed to them by the government. They’re asked to consider a lot of information from a wide range of sources, discuss that information with expert speakers and among themselves. They work together to find common ground around trade-offs and proposals that address their problem, ultimately finding agreement on recommendations they write themselves and handing those to decision-makers with supporting evidence and rationale.
What is a democratic lottery? How are people chosen?
Democratic lotteries are a method for fairly choosing a mix of people to participate in an assembly. We can’t invite everyone to deliberate so to fairly narrow down the group to something like 40 people, we use a computer to generate a list of names or addresses and send out invitations. From those that accept the invite, we do another computerised draw that matches the group to the wider community. This means the group will be broadly representative of the wider population by a few important measures like age, gender, education, and location. This ensures fair representation for everyone.
Can anyone get selected for a citizens’ assembly? Or would there be qualifications and prerequisites?
The only people ineligible to participate are those who are already professional politicians.
What if ‘bad’ or ‘stupid’ people get selected?
We hear you, your neighbour can’t get their recycling right so you’re worried about us putting them in charge of budgeting for the whole State.
This really doesn’t happen. Citizens’ assemblies have shown again and again that when given respect, responsibility, and a chance to listen and learn from one another, people selected by democratic lottery are sensible and civil. They tend to think passionately about what’s best for everyone and have all the right incentives to find common ground with the help and assistance of wide range of experts.
Wait, what about voting?
We can still have some of that. Voting should still be used to select our professional politicians. Making use of citizens’ assemblies will unlock many of the issues that vex our parliaments and has the potential to revitalise electoral politics – placing the emphasis back on solutions and away from political spin and empty promises.
But don’t we need professional politicians to represent us?
From city councils to Parliament, lawmaking bodies deal mostly with questions of morals, values, and priorities. How do we want to live together? How should we spend our hard-earned tax dollars? What kind of future do we want for our children?
The people best suited to make those decisions on behalf of all of us are people exactly like us. Everyday Australians with the same hopes, dreams, and concerns as us.
When it comes to executing policy and running government day-to-day, we do need professionals, that’s why we recommend making use of citizens’ assemblies alongside elected officials to help address the issues politics-as-usual isn’t well suited to.
Has this really been proven to work?
It has. All over the world citizens’ assemblies are increasingly being used to find solutions for complex problems like climate change in France; city planning in Toronto, Canada; waste management in Fortaleza, Brazil; COVID-19 in Michigan, US; and city budgeting in Melbourne.
In 2020, the OECD documented 289 citizens’ assemblies or similar bodies taking place around the world between 1986 and 2019. That number is rapidly increasing as governments steadily learn about and take advantage of the many benefits they provide. Paris has just recently established a permanent citizens’ assembly with 100 Parisians selected by democratic lottery.