The Australian Citizens' Parliament and the Future of Deliberative Democracy
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Penn State University Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright
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Table of Contents
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List of Illustrations
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List of Tables
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Our heartfelt appreciation goes to the 150 Citizen Parliamentarians (CPs), without whom there would have been no Citizens’ Parliament and no book. We can’t name them because that was a condition of our research grant, but they know who they are, and so do we. We thank, in particular, those CPs who continued to act beyond the lifespan of the Australian Citizens’ Parlia-...
Introduction (Lyn Carson, John Gastil, Janette Hartz-Karp, and Ron Lubensky)
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Democracy remains the aspiration held by governments the world over. Newly minted nations typically build popular sovereignty into their consti-tutions, and those nations with long-standing traditions of self-governance continue to amend their own distinct methods of assembling, informing, At the same time, many critics have decried the emergence of a “demo-...
PART I: Deliberative Design and Innovation
The introduction to the book provided a brief overview of the Australia Citizens’ Parliament. The chapters in part I go further to describe the con-text, preparation, and procedures of the participatory process. In “Origins of the First Citizens’ Parliament” (chapter 1), Lyn Carson and Luca Belgiorno-Nettis look back on how the ACP came about. Written as a conversation ...
Chapter 1: Origins of the First Citizens’ Parliament (Lyn Carson and Luca Belgiorno-Nettis)
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In this chapter we take a look at the origins of the Australian Citizens’ Par-liament (ACP) in the same way it began, with a casual conversation. This happened years before the ACP itself. The two people involved, Lyn Carson and Luca Belgiorno-Nettis, recall both their fi rst meetings, the fateful conversation, and the events which followed. In the spirit of deliberative ...
Chapter 2: Putting Citizens in Charge: Comparing the Australian Citizens’ Parliament and the Australia 2020 Summit (Janette Hartz-Karp and Lyn Carson)
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Australia is one of the world’s stable liberal democracies. It has a history of democratic innovation.1 But the “Democratic Audit of Australia” and other studies tell a story of falling confi dence in our political system.2 Symptoms include low levels of citizen engagement, apathy and cynicism toward poli-tics, declining membership in and public support for political parties, and ...
Chapter 3: Choose Me: The Challenges of National Random Selection (Ron Lubensky and Lyn Carson)
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A legitimate public-deliberation process must inclusively represent the population that it serves.1 Logistically, a deliberative process cannot deliver the whole population to the discussion. Instead, a microcosm that mirrors the full diversity and features of the public at large,2 commonly referred to now as a mini-public, accepts the responsibility to deliberate in the common ...
Chapter 4: Grafting an Online Parliament onto a Face-to-Face Process (Brian Sullivan and Janette Hartz-Karp)
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The Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) organizers faced several signifi -cant challenges. Among them were the geographic distance between par-ticipants living in a vast continent and the commitment to let the participants themselves shape the direction and design of the ACP. To address both these challenges, an Online Parliament was introduced. Whereas chapters ...
PART II: Exploring Deliberation
The central purpose of the ACP was to harness the power of democratic deliberation, and the chapters in part II provide a portrait of that delibera-tion. Most of the chapters in this part are based on the transcripts produced from the recorded table conversations at the ACP. The chapters demon-strate a range of useful approaches to studying the deliberation itself....
Chapter 5: Listening Carefully to the Citizens’ Parliament: A Narrative Account (Ron Lubensky)
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...In response (and sometimes preemptively), I have paraphrased the survey comments of participants after the ACP was complete. Most, who had never done anything like this before, wrote generously about the process and their experience of it. For instance, one Citizen Parliamentarian (CP) said that the ACP gave “an appreciation of my role in the governance of country. I now...
Chapter 6: Deliberative Design and Storytelling in the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (Laura W. Black and Ron Lubensky)
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Over the past decade, several deliberation scholars and practitioners have discovered the importance of personal stories in public deliberation.1 Sto-ries describe experiences that relate to some kind of problem. They are told through the eyes of a character, who typically is both the protagonist and the storyteller. When people tell complete stories, their tale has a clear ...
Chapter 7: What Counts as Deliberation? Comparing Participant and Observer Ratings (John Gastil)
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As a matter of convenience, commentators often refer to events like the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) as exercises in “democratic delib-eration.” This parallels the casual way we use the word when we say a jury has left the courtroom to “go deliberate.” A more careful use of terms, however, leads us to ask whether, in fact, the jury will deliberate, ...
Chapter 8: Hearing All Sides? Soliciting and Managing Different Viewpoints in Deliberation (Anna Wiederhold and John Gastil)
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In any complex deliberative process, a tension exists between welcoming new and different ideas and maintaining a clear focus on the problem at hand. When faced with this dilemma, organizers of the Australian Citi-zens’ Parliament (ACP) hoped to err “on the side of breadth” by privileg-ing varied perspectives, divergence, and innovation over consensus. They ...
Chapter 9: Sit Down and Speak Up: Stability and Change in Group Participation (Joseph A. Bonito, Renee A. Meyers, John Gastil, and Jennifer Ervin)
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Joseph A. Bonito, Renee A. Meyers, John Gastil, and Jennifer ErvinPublic forums such as the Australia Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) have the potential to engender personal transformation, group learning, and social and political change, but that potential is realized only if participants actu-ally deliberate. More precisely, deliberation does not work (and, in fact, is ...
PART III: The Flow of Beliefs and Ideas
Whereas part II explored the nature of deliberative activity, the chapters in part III focus on the evolving content of deliberation. The ACP aimed to prioritize a set of proposals for improving the Australian political system, and these chapters assess the degree to which the CPs got that job done. In chapter 10, “Changing Orientations Toward Australian Democracy,” Simon ...
Chapter 10: Changing Orientations Toward Australian Democracy (Simon Niemeyer, Luisa Batalha, and John S. Dryzek)
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The Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) addressed a single broad issue—the nation’s political system. How did participation in this unique event We begin by describing our approach to measuring attitude change—involving an extended version of Q methodology. We then identify the basic orientations that Australians have toward politics and examine how those ...
Chapter 11: Staying Focused: Tracing the fFow of Ideas from the Online Parliament to Canberra (John Gastil and John Wilkerson)
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There exist many successful examples of public deliberation engaging groups of lay citizens, but questions remain about the extent to which delib-eration can fl ourish online and how such discussions can be merged with more traditional public meetings.1 Previous deliberative efforts have built online and face-to-face deliberative meetings in parallel, or they have inte-...
Chapter 12: Evidence of Peer Influence in the Citizens’ Parliament (Luc Tucker and John Gastil)
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Deliberative democratic theory presumes that people infl uence one another through interaction. To move to the more nuanced questions addressed throughout this book, scholars generally take that presumption for granted. But the necessary assumptions underlying much of the work on delibera-tive democracy must, at some point, themselves be scrutinized, lest we ...
PART IV: Facilitation and Organizer Effects
Well-structured deliberative processes involve considerable design and coor-dination, and the ACP relied extensively on a team of professional event organizers and process facilitators. The chapters in this section take a more interpretive approach to understand the infl uence that facilitators, plenary-session speakers, and key pieces of information had on the ACP. Chapter 13, ...
Chapter 13: The Unsung Heroes of a Deliberative Process: Reflections on the Role of Facilitators at the Citizens’ Parliament (Max Hardy and Kath Fisher, with Janette Hartz-Karp)
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Facilitation is regularly explained in group-dynamic training sessions and guidebooks, but for experienced practitioners it is often as much an art as a craft. It is one thing to know what a facilitator should do, that is, remain independent while balancing equally important elements: the group pro-cess, the task at hand, and the individuals involved. However, knowing ...
Chapter 14: Are They Doing What They Are Supposed to Do?: Assessing the Facilitating Process of the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (Li Li, Fletcher Ziwoya, Laura W. Black, and Janette Hartz-Karp)
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The use of facilitators is often a taken-for-granted aspect of deliberation, enabling groups to work through public problems in a way that embodies deliberative ideals.1 Facilitators help frame the issues being discussed, set ground rules for the discussion, encourage equity and respect, and help groups analyze issues and make decisions. In short, it is assumed that facil-...
Chapter 15: Supporting the Citizen Parliamentarians: Mobilizing Perspectives and Informing DiscussionI (an Marsh and Lyn Carson)
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From its inception, the organizers of the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) were conscious of the need to support participants as they explored a complex subject, but in ways that responded to their expressed needs. This was the essence of the project: to analyze the capacity of ordinary citi-zens to consider a many-sided issue. Too much direction, denying the ...
Chapter 16: Investigation of (and Introspection on) Organizer Bias (Lyn Carson)
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Writings on deliberative democracy usually attribute “bias” to poor popula-tion sampling, inappropriate framing of the topic being deliberated, or the omission of important perspectives within expert panels or background information.1 Such situations can be categorized as exhibiting organizer bias since organizers must ultimately take responsibility for them....
PART V: Impacts and Reflections
The value of large-scale deliberative events like the ACP depends partly on their longer-term impacts, beyond the more narrow purpose of prioritizing reforms to the Australian political process. Did the ACP change its partici-pants, popular opinion, public offi cials, or the prospects for a more delib-Using follow-up survey data collected a year afterward, in “Participant ...
Chapter 17: Participant Accounts of Political Transformation (Katherine R. Knobloch and John Gastil)
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Political theorist Mark Warren once asked whether participation in democ-racy can make us “better” citizens. His “self-transformation thesis” pulled together writings by philosophers from John Stuart Mill and Jean-Jacques Rousseau to modern theorists such as Carole Pateman and Benjamin Bar-ber. All of these writers pointed to the same basic idea—that democracy is ...
Chapter 18: Becoming Australian: Forging a National Identity Through Deliberation (Janette Hartz-Karp, Patrick Anderson, John Gastil, and Andrea Felicetti)
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Janette Hartz-Karp, Patrick Anderson, John Gastil, and Andrea FelicettiOne of the unexpected outcomes of the ACP was the emergence of a robust sense of shared identity among the deliberators. Research has shown Austra-lians to be ambivalent about their national identity, making the spontaneous emergence of a common sense of identity unlikely in an Australian setting.1 ...
Chapter 19: Mediated Meta-Deliberation: Making Sense of the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (Eike Mark Rinke, Katherine R. Knobloch, John Gastil, and Lyn Carson)
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Eike Mark Rinke, Katherine R. Knobloch, John Gastil, and Lyn CarsonMost of the chapters in this volume look inside the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) to study the practical and political challenges of deliberat-ing together in an assembly of ordinary citizens. However, the ACP also created the possibility for a kind of deliberation that can occur only through ...
Chapter 20: How NOT to Introduce Deliberative Democracy: The 2010 Sitizens’ Assembly on Climate Change Proposal (Lyn Carson)
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During the 2010 federal election campaign in Australia, climate change surfaced as a major issue. Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a Citi-zens’ Assembly on Climate Change (CACC) involving 150 randomly selected Those of us who had worked on the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP) one year earlier wondered whether this could be the moment in his-...
Conclusion: Theoretical and Practical Implications of the Citizens’ Parliament Experience (Janette Hartz-Karp, Lyn Carson, John Gastil, and Ron Lubensky)
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It was evident from the outset that nothing would go as planned for the Aus-tralian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP). When more than a third of those who received an invitation to participate rushed to their phones and computers to accept, the organizers knew the experience would be an exciting challenge for all. In the end, the ACP proved to be an important case study through ...
List of Contributors
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Other Works in the Series, Back Cover
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation