Citizens Convention on Reinventing Government and Changing Politics

Jay Owen Global Citizen

Centre for Civil Society

    The Heart and Soul of Australia
Voice | Representation | Social Infrastructure

Putting citizens at the centre of power …
Citizens Convention on Reinventing Government and Changing Politics

Melbourne 5-6 August 2013


       Ken Coghill, Tim Smith, Monash University Accountability Round Table
       Michelle Lucas, Desert Knowledge Australia, remoteFOCUS
       Matthew Gordon, OurSay, Hepburn Shire Council and e-democracy
       Stefan Grafe, Overcoming citizen detachment and passivity
       Danielle Annells, Citizen Juries and collaborative governance
       Bonnie Shaw, Designing collaborative community-powered experiments
       Susan Benedyka, Voice for Indi - true participatory democracy
       Nina Collins, City of Yarra, Changing the way we do government grants
       Siegfried Drews, Technology platforms for self-directed services
       Michael Spiegel, Empowering consumers and small businesses
       Eyal Halamish, Deliberative democracy and The Citizen's Agenda
       Keith Heggart, Justice Citizens, The future of citizenship education
       Dale Renner, Moving users to the centre of social and health services
       Craig Lambie, Democratic Evolution, Platforms for participatory governance
       Fuzzy Trojan, Creating a political voice for volunteers
       Geoff Edwards, Griffith University, The public interest and reinvention
       Kevin Cox, White Label Personal Clouds, Controlling personal online identity
       Estelle Gom, Creating a political voice for consumers
       David Tripp, Murdoch University, Towards secret ballots in parliament
       La Vergne Lehman, New models of leadership
       Charles Mollison, Citizen juries and a new constitution
       Jon Shapiro, Democracy Without Politics
       Eric Collins, What can be done about the party system?
       Carmela Ferraro, Creating a government worthy of governing us
       Nicola Kaye, Edith Cowan University, New transparency mechanisms
       Jane Smith, Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka
       Aloma Fennell, The Senior Agenda
and many more


Invitation to Participate in a Citizens Convention

This Convention is a unique event in Australian public affairs. It is open to all citizens across social and political divisions. It’s focus is on open discussion and the search for practical, system-changing innovations.

The format for this convention will be as follows: proponents of particular reform proposals will present their ideas to the convention; the convention will vote on each, adopting one of three stances:

1. Endorsement for immediate implementation;
2. Needs more work;
3. Unlikely to generate a consensus amongst citizens.

Call for Contributions

“Too much government is delivered today in ways that create passivity. It need not be so. Already there are important signs of change emerging, if only they can be liberated from the institutional forms of the past. New approaches, enhanced by the transformative potential of social media, can create a government2.0 in which the citizen is placed at the centre of power.” Peter Shergold, former Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Papers, presentations, workshops, and innovation and strategy proposals are invited which examine the re-invention of government and politics in the direction of a new paradigm “in which the citizen is placed at the centre of power”.

What does politics and government look like “in which the citizen in placed at the centre of power”?

Contributions are invited which address this question in five streams:

1. Innovations in Politics and Governance including:

  • Openness and transparency mechanisms
  • Participatory budgeting
  • Self-directed services and personal budgets
  • Citizen juries
  • Web2 applications of direct democracy
  • New forms of citizen voice
  • Innovations in party organisation and decision-making
  • Financing democracy

2. Innovation proposals or policy reform proposals in economic policy including:

  • Civilising global capital
  • Building the capital assets of the bottom half of society
  • Disaggregating concentrations of ownership
  • Making competition work for small consumers and small business
  • Tackling corporate and middle class welfare
  • Recognising self-employment and family-based businesses
  • Recognising third sector models of enterprise
  • Media reform

3. Innovation proposals or policy reform proposals in social policy including:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Welfare
  • Disability, ageing and social support
  • Rural and regional affairs
  • Indigenous affairs
  • Family and social relationships
  • Community strengthening and civil society
  • Rights and responsibilities frameworks

4. Critical assessments of:

  • The future of Labor
  • The future of Liberal and National parties
  • Notions of Left and Right
  • New political formations
  • Neo-liberalism and social democracy
  • Managerialism
  • Communitarianism and mutualism
  • Progressive conservatism
  • Third Way perspectives

5. Strategic perspectives on:

  • Processes of  public policy change
  • Processes of empowerment of citizens and communities
  • Diversifying and deepening public debate
  • Citizen participation in reforming the political system
  • New political formations

Expressions of interest in presenting a paper or workshop or proposal should be forwarded, in no more than 300 words, using this online form.



The Heart and Soul of Australia 

The Heart and Soul of Australia is a social and political movement which aims to empower ordinary Australians in politics and public decision-making. It is open to members of all political parties and members of none. Further information is available here.

Participants are invited to participate in our network in their federal electorate groups around Australia to:

– take local initiatives and hold local events
– campaign on issues that are ignored by governments and politicians; and
 develop ideas for social and political change and empowerment of ordinary people.

There is no cost to join and participate. Join up here.
You may participate in our discussion forum on at The Heart and Soul of Australia on  

CLICK HERE to send in your comments and feedback.