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AUGUST 2013: Citizens Convention on Reinventing Government and Changing Politics
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8/5/2013 to 8/6/2013
When: 8/5/2013

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Towards September 14 and beyond ...
Citizens Convention on Reinventing Government and Changing Politics

Melbourne 5-6 August 2013

Exploring initiatives, innovations, and processes to redesign government and empower ordinary Australians in public decision-making

Open to citizens from all social and political backgrounds - from conservative to radical, city to country



Invitation to Participate in a Citizens Convention

Around the world politics is in disrepute. It has become detached from society, and unresponsive to its needs. It has been captured by elites. It seems incapable of solving the big social, economic and environmental challenges of our time. Public leadership remains important, but politics is everywhere discredited.

This is a global problem. In Australia the failure of politics and citizen detachment is particularly acute. Our party system is particularly rigid, our three tiers of governance are cumbersome and inefficient, and our culture of political debate and commentary is particularly narrow.

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.

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, by 30 June 2013, 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.


Vern Hughes
03 5629 8400
0425 722 890


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