Why it will work

Encouraging all citizens to participate regardless of their beliefs, opinions and socio-economic grouping is required to create a policy platform that reflects the ‘centre’ of Australian values. Today’s major political parties proclaim specific ideologies that only attract certain sections of the community, and their internal power structures further concentrate policy positions to benefit the biggest supporters (big business, unions, etc.). Opening the door to everyone with a ‘blank ideological slate’ and making the policy creation process very democratic will encourage policies that align with the most commonly held Australian values, and discourage those that benefit vested interests. This is assumed to be a good thing, and is the purpose of democracy in the first place.

The idea behind the citizen’s jury is that they will make the decision that most Australians would make if they had the opportunity to become well informed about a policy. Of course, the expectation that the jury is made up of a representative sample of Australians is critical to this assumption – a jury made up solely of middle aged white males from one suburb in Sydney would probably not come to a consensus that reflects broader opinion. This phase of the policy creation process incorporates a democratic element (because the members of the jury are drawn from the population and they have ultimate power to accept or reject the policy), but acknowledges the reality that policy can be complex and most people are too busy to become properly informed. It is a middle ground between undemocratic powerlessness at the individual policy level (as we have today) and complete direct democracy at the other extreme.