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  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 

Our Work

As citizens and voters we all want and value infrastructure. Unfortunately, over the years this has led to the community looking at public decisions about major public investments with a weary cynicism: is this really the project we need, or is this simply a project to appeal to a marginal electorate? This perception is enough to have a...

Obesity policy and how to respond is a challenging area for governments around the world. The current situation leads to billions of dollars in care costs borne by the state and its citizens, but efforts to change this rarely survive the test of the daily headlines. Food is at once something we all understand, and this quick reaction makes...

Balancing competing needs in a growing community

Penrith City Council is a large, iconic council area and like many local government authorities in New South Wales, it is growing and changing rapidly. That change brings with it both opportunities and pressures on services and finite resources. With nearly $300m of future...

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...

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In the Media

At the beginning of February, Premier Mike Baird came out fighting on GST, declaring: "I am convinced our political leaders and our community are ready to take the right, hard decisions for our future".

When Harold MacMillan, the British Conservative Prime Minister of the '60s, was asked what can blow a government off course, he...

Athens can teach us a lot about real democracy – not the weasel democracy practised so often, British classics scholar Robin Lane Fox tells Kevin Chinnery.