The uses and risks of ad-hoc decision making by sortition

Stephen Minas sees the proposal for convening a “people’s assembly” on climate change as nothing more than a delay tactic. He writes in the New Statesman:

Chasing the consensus chimera

06 August 2010 11:48

As Australia’s government goes to an election promising consensus-building on climate change, action on the “greatest moral challenge” is again delayed.

Australian Labor fought and won the 2007 election pledging an emissions trading scheme (ETS) by 2010. It will face the people later this month promising to defer a final decision on whether to introduce an ETS to 2012.


A recent poll found that 60 per cent of Australians want an ETS. The global financial crisis is often cited as a reason for weakening demand for action on climate, but Australia did not have a recession. What’s more, many people were persuaded in 2007 of the urgent need to put a price on carbon. They find it difficult to accept that this need has become less urgent, not more, in 2010.