The Australian Citizens Parliament and the Future of Deliberative Democracy

Edited by Lyn Carson, John Gastil, Janette Hartz-Karp, Ron Lubensky

Hardback - £65.95

Publication date:

26 August 2013

Length of book:

336 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271060125

Growing numbers of scholars, practitioners, politicians, and citizens recognize the value of deliberative civic engagement processes that enable citizens and governments to come together in public spaces and engage in constructive dialogue, informed discussion, and decisive deliberation. This book seeks to fill a gap in empirical studies in deliberative democracy by studying the assembly of the Australian Citizens’ Parliament (ACP), which took place in Canberra on February 6–8, 2009. The ACP addressed the question “How can the Australian political system be strengthened to serve us better?”

The ACP’s Canberra assembly is the first large-scale, face-to-face deliberative project to be completely audio-recorded and transcribed, enabling an unprecedented level of qualitative and quantitative assessment of participants’ actual spoken discourse. Each chapter reports on different research questions for different purposes to benefit different audiences. Combined, they exhibit how diverse modes of research focused on a single event can enhance both theoretical and practical knowledge about deliberative democracy.

“As innovators in democratic process, we know how much we depend on learning from practical trials and real-world experiences. This work captures the experience in detail and provides an important reference point for anyone hoping to bring deliberation and the citizen’s voice back into how we do government.”

—Iain Walker, executive director, The newDemocracy Foundation