One hundred and fifty citizens from around the country will participate in a first-ever Citizen’s Parliament, sitting in Old Parliament House in Canberra between February 6 and 9, 2009.
“There’s no doubt that fewer Australians are participating in the political process,” said the Hon Fred Chaney AO, who will co-chair the parliament with Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue AC, CBE, DSG.
Fewer Australians are joining political parties with less than 1.5% of Australians are members of political parties, the lowest rate of all OECD countries. Only five per cent of Australians ever attend political meetings or rallies and, according to the Australian National University’s Election Study, 30 per cent of Australians freely admit that they pay little attention to politics.
“While Australia’s democracy has a demonstrated capacity to evolve and change, the current professionalization of politics has left many ordinary Australians feeling disenfranchised,” said Mr Chaney. “This experiment in direct democracy aims to let those who tend to see themselves as the silent majority have their say.”
Participants in the Citizen’s Parliament, one from each of the 150 Federal electorates, were selected at random to ensure a truly representative sample of ‘everyday’ Australians from all walks of life. Over four days, they will discuss how Australia’s political system might be strengthened to better serve its citizens.
A report summarising the recommendations will be provided to the Prime Minister and all Members of Parliament.
For more information visit www.citizensparliament.org.au