Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 22 February 2018) . . Page.. 579 ..
to be airing this in a committee. They would want to be telling everyone about the due diligence that they have gone through in order to establish this process.
But the fact that they do not want scrutiny of this process suggests that there is something to hide. If we cannot trust the process, then deliberative democracy will be at best expensive tokenism. I say to advocates of deliberative democracy that I think you would want to get this right, because it is going to do a real disservice to deliberative democracy in the future if we do not get it right now. If this process is tainted now, it is going to be very hard to recover in the future. Under the terms of the referral in my motion, the JACS committee would have broad powers to investigate areas of concern in the public nature of such an inquiry.
It is important to note that, upon the announcement of this inquiry, Ms Le Couteur was critical of the subject. She came out and said it is potentially very boring. Obviously, Ms Le Couteur had doubts about this inquiry as well. Yet is she willing to sign up to this regardless? Is she willing to rubber stamp whatever comes out of this jury, even though she was on the record as saying that she had doubts about that? I think it is a pretty shabby process where the government does not want to shed any light upon what is a policy formulation process.
I look forward to the response of the Greens and the Labor Party to this motion. They are going to be unwilling to appear to question what is in their Labor-Greens agreement. But in actual fact what I think this motion does is affirm the importance of deliberative democracy and give an opportunity to make sure that it is actually a lasting part of the ACT rather than perhaps a short-lived experiment that went wrong because we did not intervene or at least scrutinise it when we had the opportunity.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.36): I move:
“(1) this Assembly notes:
(a) the ACT Government is in the process of rolling out a new approach to community engagement which includes the piloting of a range of deliberative democratic processes such as:
(i) the Citizens’ Jury on Compulsory Third Party insurance;
(ii) the Carers’ Voice Panel to design the ACT Carers Strategy;
(iii) a participatory budgeting initiative feeding into the 2019 Budget; and
(iv) the delivery of an online community panel;
(b) that these approaches aim to broaden the range and number of Canberrans who are able to participate in, and have input on, major decisions about our city and the direction of policy reform; and
(c) that each deliberative exercise provides the opportunity for new learnings which can drive future engagements of Government with Canberrans; and
(2) calls on the Assembly to support a referral for committee inquiry into the Government’s use of deliberative democratic processes not later than the Autumn sittings of 2019.”.