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Abstract

This paper, originally a presentation to the Sydney Democracy Forum, discusses how the current democratic deficit could be converted to a democratic surplus. In particular, attention is focused on an ambitious project which has recently commenced in Australia which will culminate in a grassroots citizens’ assembly. One hundred and fifty Australians will be randomly selected from each electorate and will participate in a range of deliberative environments (online and face-to-face), culminating in a four-day citizens’ parliament in Sydney. The project is jointly funded by an Australian Research Council-Linkage grant and a not-for-profit organisation, newDemocracy. During the entire process, typical Australians will consider ways in which Australia’s political system could be strengthened to better represent the will of the people.

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