Features Intro

The Magna Carta is a touchstone for democracy: a devolution of power from an absolute Monarch to his subjects. The Treaty, in all its chapters, became a complementary measure to the way the King, the government of the day, governed.

This year, on the 800th anniversary of that treaty, we think a further complementary measure is needed to reflect the aspirations of Australians.

We think a complementary house of randomly selected people - A Citizens' Senate - could be trialed as a third house of parliament.

We might be wrong, and that’s why we think a fair method for studying this measure, along with any others, is to put the question to a Convention, and let them spend some months deliberating on the measures.

The Irish Constitutional Convention of 2013 is a precedent in this regard.

The Irish had a mix of everyday people selected by lot (as in a jury) together with politicians - two thirds/one third.

In Australia, we could have a similar mix to consider: ‘How can we govern ourselves better?’ and report back to Parliament.

Submissions would come from all and sundry on how to improve our government.

Democracy is more than ‘the vote’; it’s a way of organising ourselves, for no other reason than for ourselves.

Who We Are

Research Committee

Research Committee

The Hon Nick Greiner AC, Chair THE HON GEOFF GALLOP AC | RESEARCH COMMITTEE LUCY HUGHES TURNBULL AO | RESEARCH COMMITTEE CAROLYN HENDRIKS | RESEARCH COMMITTEE  

Board & Executive

Board & Executive

LUCA BELGIORNO-NETTIS AM | FOUNDER LYN CARSON | DIRECTOR KATHY JONES | DIRECTOR IAIN WALKER | EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR  

Jurors

Jurors

newDemocracy Jurors

Supporters

Supporters

PROF. PETER SHERGOLD AC PROF. JANE MANSBRIDGE  CHERYL KERNOT MARK TEDESCHI AM JENNIFER WESTACOTT 

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Our Work

Who Pays? Agreeing Fair Shares in Infrastructure Funding (South Eastern Drainage)

Many government decisions fall into the category where all avenues of action are open to criticism from some interested party. This is especially the case where it is viewed that “the government should pay” – and...

In 2013 Noosa Shire Council de-amalgamated from Sunshine Coast, with the elected representatives ascribing their electoral success (and that of de-amalgamation) to their position of putting more decision making in the hands of the local community. In 2014 newDemocracy was approached to provide advice on structures and processes which could...

Like many councils across the country, Marrickville Council face the challenging problem of renewing a vast portfolio of aging capital assets - from roads, to parks, to pavements, stormwater drains and beyond. There are also new assets the council may wish to build such as cycleways and greening initiatives to be factored in - while at the...

Participatory budgeting processes traditionally focus on a component of discretionary budget – such as a representatives ability to ringfence a couple of million dollars for community facilities. However, in many ways the larger challenge in budgeting is the dominance of interest groups coupled with the capacity to present any and all...

In the Media

Nicholas Reece
Citizen juries are one of the most promising innovations to emerge in the conversation about democratic renewal.

Melbourne's radical experiment in democracy has reached a momentous conclusion, with the City Council announcing on Friday it will accept nearly all the recommendations of a 10-year...

How would you like to actively participate shaping government policies, not just indirectly through your vote? Citizen juries allow just that. State and local governments have started to use citizen juries to address issues like infrastructure, budgeting or reforming the electoral system. These participatory democracy projects could radically...

InDaily, Adelaide Independent News
Jay Weatherill 
25 May 2015


It is true that the power of our ideas will help to drive and sustain South Australia's future.

But when we think about "the next big things" it is important...

Luca Belgiorno-Nettis wasn’t exactly born with a silver shovel in his mouth, but you suspect a well-worn hard hat was resting somewhere in the nursery.

In 1954, his Italian parents Franco and Amina had yet to amass what would become a vast fortune off the back of the nation’s post-war regeneration. Here was a...