What is the question?
In recent years, Australia has seen many successful examples of incorporating mini-publics (See, Mini-publics) into public decision-making. Compared to the usual public engagement practices, these projects have been substantially more informed, more representative, more deliberative, and more influential. They have also provided outstanding opportunities for ordinary people to participate in a meaningful way.
But what about participation for the remainder of the public – the people who were not selected for the mini-public? Many practitioners and scholars have struggled with this question. More specifically,
- How to provide meaningful opportunities for participation for people other than the members of the mini-public
- in a way that results in better decisions, more public support for decisions, and greater public trust in the decision-making process
- while avoiding the usual problem with public policy conversations – an overwhelming deluge of uninformed and often mean-spirited opinion?