Deliberative democracy

How the assembly works


The National People's Assembly stimulates public debate and give ordinary citizens a chance to directly affect the policies of the Australian Government.

The event was structured like a European style 'consensus conference' which is a proven method of participatory democracy.


Fourteen randomly selected citizens formed the Citizen's Panel. They have had access to world class academics, government leaders, senior business people and other experts. The panel comprehensively explored the issues that Australia may face as the Asia-Pacific region experiences widespread population displacement due to sea-level rise.


After extensive deliberation, the panel provided recommendations to the government, industry, scientists, the media and the community.


Green Cross Australia is liaising with government leaders and the business communities to ensure the panel's recommendations are taken into account when major decisions are made in both the public and private sector.


The cast of characters in the National People's Assembly


Many people were directly involved in the National People's Assembly:


The Chair

The Chair of the event was retired Judge Neil McLauchlan who ensures the citizens have the very best possible interaction with experts.

The Steering Committee

The Steering Committee - a who's who of senior leaders from the community, science, business and government sectors - identifed a comprehensive information base of articles, speeches, videos and other media used to brief the Citizens' Panel. The Steering Committee selected experts to address each of the important dimensions of the topic.

The Facilitator

The Facilitator plays a crucial role, meeting with the Citizens' Panel a few times before the conference to work through background briefing papers and giving the citizens a chance to meet with some key experts. During the conference itself the facilitator managed the flow of dialogue between experts and citizens, and also engaged with the public audience.

The Citizens' Panel

The Citizens' Panel were recruited using a rigorous process to ensure that the group is broadly representative of Australia as a whole. Green Cross is lucky to be working with an expert marketing and science communication volunteer who will take responsibility for recommending the approach we will take to panel selection.

The Public

Both days of the National People's Assembly were open to the public and tickets were free. As part of the Riverfestival the National People's Assembly was hosted by Griffith University and was held at the State Library of Queensland, Auditorium One.

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