Why Deliberative Democracy Matters

A Sydney Ideas Arts Matters Forum

Co-presented with the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy, University of Western Sydney, newdemocracy and IAP2

Why you should listen


1:32 minutes Download video (mp4, 331 Mb)

Deliberative Democracy is an approach to public policy-making and problem-solving that encourages citizens to actively participate in a moderated discussion and debate that will have direct impact on policy decisions of government. In the Australian context, the recently mooted Citizens Assembly on climate change is an example. But what is the 'deliberative' process and why does our democracy need it now?

As the world contemplates its massive and seemingly insurmountable environmental and social problems, when fact has become separated from feeling, citizens are becoming more removed from possible solutions. Deliberative democracy could be the key to solving difficult problems collectively. Listen to pre-eminent local and international scholars and practitioners as they imagine a way out of the current mess.


  • Lyn Carson, Professorial Fellow, Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy, University of Western Sydney and Adjunct Professor, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney
  • John Gastil, Professor, Political Communications, University of Washington, USA
  • Sandy Heierbacher, Director, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, USA
  • Lars Kluver, Director, Danish Board of Technology, Denmark
  • Matt Leighninger, Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, USA
  • Alannah MacTiernan, former Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Western Australia