Greetings

This page is divided into two main sections:

  • the preview videos and documents, and
  • the recordings and some additional material in the weekend program section.

Enjoy browsing.

At the bottom of the page is a link to a searchable and filterable table of all presenters with links to their presentations, and videos of the sessions they spoke in.

There is also a link to the Chat text.

 

Preview presentations, posters and other material

Sessions and presentations are collected into four Learning Streams. These reflect the themes that are emerging in the community / electorate based democracy landscape.

Engaging your Communities

... is the initial phase in setting up democracy in your electorate community. This learning stream shares some peoples experience with doing this.

Helping your MP work for you

... is by making the existing representative democracy system work more effectively. This avoids opportunity costs of creating massive system change. It enables direct personal accountability of MPs to constituents, and helps communities take back some of the power from MPs and political parties (and their donors).

Tools and Apps: watch politics & your MP

... and watching how politics in Australia is being run, knowing more about your electorate and its communities, and learning more about politics in action, are all ways that assist people and communities be more powerful. It facilitates engagement and helping your MP work for you.

Replace your unresponsive MP

... in working with you, their constituents, and seems disinterested in community engagement and in the issues that matter for you and the electorate, there are precedents for electorate communities choosing their own community candidate. This stream showcases some of these.

... are tremendously popular in Canberra, providing space for people to share, donate, and ask for things from each other. But is there more to them than giving and asking? Are they a form of democratic practice, mixing the glue that holds our communities together?

... has been an explosion in community / electorate based democracy activity throughout Australia. This brief video gives a quick overview of the groups active in this political ecosystem.

6 minute video.

... investing in climate change? Who's paying for our Covid vaccines? Should our governments fund private schools? Our society is shaped by how much tax we pay and how we spend it. By understanding this better, we can make better political choices.

3 minute slide presentation

... billion-dollar political lobbying industry, Christiaan Van Vuuren's unlikely journey shows us why we should care, and how we can safeguard our democracy from being sold to the highest bidder.

... election campaign, Tim Hollo ran a series of public meetings called "People In", facilitating deliberative conversations about what the Canberra community would like from their MP as a true representative of the community. In this session, Tim will present the key findings of these sessions, and update them in the context of the pandemic.

See also the 1100 session, Saturday morning.

... Australia has been set up to encourage and assist Australians to form electorate action groups in their federal electorates so they can be better represented and through this improve Australian democracy. Much more detail on their website.

... find out about your politician and the government – how they spend money, who gives them money, how they vote, and more ...

Machinery for democracy. Lift the lid on votes, donations, lobbying, and more. Reach your own conclusions.

See the website.

... focus on the importance of understanding the Senate voting system and how the numbers work if you want to convince people that joining a grassroots community organisation is a worthwhile way to challenge an incumbent senator.

The presentations will provide an analysis of the 2019 federal election results for the ACT Senate seats and argue why an independent, with the backing of a community group modeled on eh Voices for Indi movement, is the only possible way to break the status quo.

11 minute video

... the Liveability Platform, a tool for local community engagement. Includes a summary of the state, territory and national results from the recent survey.

... the connections between MPs and constituents in Australia? In this presentation, we discuss a novel research and civic engagement project called Connecting to Parliament (C2P). C2P designs non-partisan deliberative townhalls, bringing together elected officials with their constituents, to discuss relevant policy issues subject to parliamentary debate.

12min video recording your local story

... Hub has collected a set of sites that allow voters and community members to monitor the activities of their sitting MP, to see how they vote and how their views align with voters.

... campaign in the electorate of Warringah, a group of activists experimented with a range of tactics and strategies.

This document details and explains the tactics and activities that were successful.

It is a resource for other electorate groups to use in their campaigns.

... a bold new ‘why’ fit for the times we live in

A vision is like a kite, high up in the sky. But what tethers it to earth – to people and their lived experiences; and to our collective sense of power and agency? If the vision is the kite, where is the string?

This article from the Australia reMADE site provides some background for Millie Rooney's session later in the weekend.

 

... developing and using what they call a direct proxy representative bill-focused model of democracy. This 6 minute video outlines the theory behind this. The next presentation gives a demonstration of how it might work in practice.

More information is available at the Dickson Representatives website.

This static pdf display / poster of the Dickson Representatives shopfront, displays the levels of community / personal engagement possible in this system. It is reproduced from the home page of the website, where you will be able to follow the links for a deeper explanation.

This site allows you to give VoteWrap a spin.

The website also expands on the practicalities of how this method draws electorate communities into the decision making process.

6:15 minute video.

... to provide a place of candidates to put information about themselves, and voters to go to a single place to view all candidate information.

... is a registered political party aiming for community independents to be elected into the Australian Senate.

A 2 minute and a 1 minute video that summarise what the Local Party is about.

...

Conversations work so well. Mark Spain, Canberra, Active Democracy Australia.

Kitchen table conversations are the way to engage and activate your friends and neighbours. This presentation describes the experience of a participant in a kitchen table conversation in the ACT electorate of Bean. This will give people new to the idea of conversations, how they can work.

6 minute video.

Vote Wrap is a way to iteratively grow a community consensus on a topic under decision. This 4 minute video shows how this process works.

More information can be found at the VoteWrap Wiki.

 

... model; how everyone can be involved to a greater or lesser extent in directing their representative in parliament on how to vote.

... project is a collaboration to enable communities and Community Independent candidates to build participatory democracy and conduct successful election campaigns. The starting point was the election in 2013 of Cathy McGowan as a Community Independent to the Federal seat of Indi. This was followed by the election in 2019 of Helen Haines and Zali Steggall. While not participating in the DemFest 21, we see this project and the resources they provide and their education events as useful for the electorate based democracy movement.

... a process for both involving community members more directly in solving some of the most pressing issues today and to gather informed community opinion. So, what are these processes, how do they work, and why?

Four page document.

... through local citizen deliberation - A concept to improve community participation in democracies.

- purpose: to share a concept developed by democracyCo, discuss and improve the idea and consider how/where it could be implemented.

- learning outcomes: this session will explore how we can improve our democracy at the electorate level, by using deliberative methods which involve MP’s and their constituents.

Article to be read.

 

... citizens to more directly participate in decision making. The main message I would be going for is that deeper, participatory democracy is easily possible today and that most of those who say otherwise are not actually trying to empower citizens. More at the Solonian Institute.

13 minute video.

 

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Program and recordings of Saturday 6th November and Sunday 7th November weekend sessions

Saturday 6 November

Open the tabs to find out more about the session

DemFest21 Opening plenary

9 to 930 - DemFest21 Opening plenary

Video of opening plenary.

Saturday Session: 930 - 1030

Solonian Institution, Ireland, Roslyn Fuller discusses their Digital Democracy Report which assesses e-democracy tools from around the world - the main message I would be going for is that deeper, participatory democracy is easily possible today and that most of those who say otherwise are not actually trying to empower citizens.

Panel & Audience conversation: Tools for watching politics and MPs

Roslyn Fuller - Solonian Institute report

Thor Prohaska - Vote Wrap and the Dickson Representatives

Evan Predavec - Political Gadgets

Marcus Crowley - Beat Josh

Video of the session can be watched here.

Saturday Session: 1100 - 1130

Panel & Audience conversation: Engaging communities in local electorate democracy practice

Key findings from the 2019 'People In' events, Tim Hollo

During the 2019 election campaign, Tim Hollo ran a series of public meetings called "People In", facilitating deliberative conversations about what the Canberra community would like from their MP as a true representative of the community. In this session, Tim will present the key findings of these sessions, and update them in the context of the pandemic.

Watch the video of the session here.

Saturday Session: 1pm - 2pm

Renewing democracy with democratic lotteries with Sonia Randhawa - alas cancelled. Sonia apologised for not being able to make it.

Instead Petra Cram presented on CAPaD's an experience of a citizens jury using deliberation as an informing process, followed by an open discussion on sortition / random selection as a method of selecting representatives in a Westminster political system. Watch the first part of the session here.

Thor Prohaska presented some commercial-in-confidence material which was not recorded.

The conversation continued into the afternoon. The second part of the session is recorded here.

Sunday 7 November

Opening Sunday plenary: 9-930

Opening Sunday plenary video

Brief reflections on yesterday's sessions.

Possibilities for a new public good, Millie Rooney, Australia reMADE

The video recording is here.

Sunday Session: 1100 - 1200

Relating to our MPs

Glenn Cummings - proACT. Aiming for a community representative in the Senate. What has been learnt.

Rob Salter - How Active Democracy Australia plans to encourage and assist Australians to form electorate action groups in their federal electorates so they can be better represented and through this improve Australian democracy.

Craig Blakley - Voteeasy: making it easier for voters and candidates to connect when it’s time to vote.

Anna Bateman - The Local Party Tasmania

Nardine Alnemr & Selen Ercan - Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance Canberra University on the Connecting to Parliament trials

Video of the session here.

Sunday Session: 130pm - 230pm

Helping your MP work for you

Petra Cram - CAPaD's experience with assessing Citizens Juries.

Emily Jenke, DemocracyCo - Supporting representative democracy through local citizen deliberation - A concept to improve community participation in democracies.

Polly Cameron, NewDemocracy Foundation - Change Politics campaign

Session video here.

230pm - 3pm - DemFest21 Closing plenary

What have we learnt? Where to next?

 

Planning discussion: where to take the pathways document?