Julia Gillard's Citizens' Assembly Proposal for Australia: A Deliberative Democratic Analysis

John Boswell, Simon Niemeyer, Carolyn Hendriks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Many governments have embraced the rhetoric of inclusive citizen engagement. Greater public involvement promises to strengthen democratic institutions and improve the quality of policy decisions and services. How do these aspirations sit alongside the reality of Australian federal politics? This article investigates the responses of elite policy actors to the Gillard government's proposal to conduct a citizens’ assembly on climate change in 2010. Drawing on over 200 media articles, the authors identify a series of procedural, institutional and political objections raised by elite commentators against the citizens’ assembly proposal. Many of these objections have little basis in the experience of deliberative designs in practice. Some, however, reflect the challenge of realising inclusive, deliberative governance in highly politicised contexts
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-178
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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