A policy jury is “innovative, genuine democracy”

Noosa Council, Queensland, Australia:

A Noosa Community Jury of 24 randomly selected citizens will be used to consider certain complex and weighty local issues. Council could either ask for a recommendation, or in some circumstances Council may agree beforehand to implement the jury’s decision.

Mayor Noel Playford says the Community Jury will not take over the Councillors’ role, but will complement their work when everyday citizens, given time and access to all the information they need, in independently facilitated forums, can make an informed decision that earns community trust.

A citizens’ jury statistically reflecting the whole community will be randomly selected by an independent agency, not by the Council.

“These are the vital ingredients” Mr Playford said, “random selection, time and access to information and facilitated forums, independent of the Council.”

The Mayor described the jury as “innovative, genuine democracy”.

“In the de-amalgamation battle, our community was not just fighting for the return of their council, but also for a bigger say in local decision-making.”

The new democratic structure in Noosa will be organised in partnership with the newDemocracy Foundation, a respected, national research foundation made up of former leading politicians and academic experts in the field.
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