Nick Greiner spruiking about a citizens’ jury

The Sydney Morning Herald, which seems to have a certain interest in citizen juries, reports:

O’Farrell dismisses citizens’ jury after Greiner jumps gun

THE chairman of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner, has been spruiking about a citizens’ jury to recommend which projects the government should build – without having the approval of his board.

Sandy Olsen, the spokeswoman for the board of Infrastructure NSW, said yesterday it ”has not discussed adopting the model of using citizens’ juries”.

The body ”continues to develop the foundation elements of the long-term strategy”, Ms Olsen said. ”As such, it is too early to propose a consultation model for board consideration including specific techniques.”
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The Premier, Barry O’Farrell, poured cold water over the citizens’ jury idea yesterday, saying it was the job of Infrastructure NSW to put a priority list together.

”I think Nick Greiner has had better ideas,” Mr O’Farrell said.
[…]

The story concludes with a comment from the Green Party MP:

The Greens MP John Kaye, who was at the [New Democracy Foundation]’s launch, said Mr Greiner had told the gathering the citizens’ jury findings would not be binding on Infrastructure NSW.

”A non-binding citizens’ jury is sham consultation,” Dr Kaye said.

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4 Responses

  1. Hi Yoram,

    This stemmed from a (front page) story in The Daily Telegraph on Monday. Many readers would see the original story as being advocacy by that paper for a policy outcome where they hold a different position to the Premier.

    Unfortunately, we are going to get the occasionaly negative headline along the way – but the concept is conveyed in a far more positive light than when this was first raised by Prime Minister Gillard. Unfortunately, the story just ran too early before full details had been discussed – as is the newspaper’s right of course. The key omission was that any jury is randomly selected – leading to a lotof online comments that this would be ‘handpicked’ to get a result.

    The overwhelming positive is that we are seeing continued interest from representatives seeking to learn more about deliberative models, so while it would have been best not to be in any way attached to a story which set out to irk the Premier, the overall level of engagement for new ideas in NSW remains strong.

    Iain
    The newDemocracy Foundation

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  2. Hi Iain,

    Thanks for your comment. I guess you are referring to the following article:

    Former NSW Premier Nick Greiner picks citizen’s jury to rule on infrastructure

    A CITIZEN’S jury that will decide what infrastructure projects should be built and how they should be funded will be set up by Infrastructure NSW chairman Nick Greiner in a direct challenge to the cautious path taken by the O’Farrell Government.

    […]

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  3. It’s a shame that John Burnheim’s reasoned comment #92 gets buried and ignored amongst the ridiculously ignorant and angry rabble. I’d be interested to know what he thinks about it all.

    “The citizen jury idea is unfamiliar. The idea is that you get a randomly selected group of ordinary people and ask them to listen to and debate the pros and cons of a specific question and make a decision on the merits of the case. The point is that they are not precommitted by political deals. They are a good sample of the sort of people who have to wear the results of their decisions. Experience with such juries all over the world shows that people come to appreciate that they tend to come to much better decisions than off-the cuff opinion polls. People change their opinions when they take time to seriously consider all aspects of a question. I’m sure a lot of those who dismiss juries would change their mind if they looked at the facts.”

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  4. […] has been active in promoting policy juries and successful in garnering some press attention (1, 2). The main force behind this foundation, both intellectually and financially, it appears, is Luca […]

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