The danger of policy – and deliberation – in straight lines

Teaching a class of middle- ranking policy makers last year brought to the foreground an issue I’ve been pondering for a while now. It is this: many officials focus too much on a well-defined problem, and design solutions to fix that problem directly. Indeed, they are taught, and incentivised, to do that. The vast majority of public administration and management courses and text-books preach that … Continue reading The danger of policy – and deliberation – in straight lines

Parliament Rebuilding – don’t let them seal themselves off

I was privileged yesterday to take part in a discussion on CBC radio’s Ottawa Morning show with host Robyn Bresnahan and Jennifer Ditchburn, Editor in Chief of Policy Options. Jennifer had written an excellent piece about a huge, decade-long programme to renovate the Centre Block of the Canadian Parliament, something that is not being discussed but should be, because of its potential to significantly disrupt the … Continue reading Parliament Rebuilding – don’t let them seal themselves off

Closed: Research Assistant Job

I’m hiring a research assistant (or possibly two) to work on my ARC-funded research project, Sparking a National Conversation. The research assistant might contribute in a number of different ways to the project, but the right person might have one, two or all of these skill sets: e-social science or big data skills qualitative and interpretive skills experience with research in indigenous Australian politics an … Continue reading Closed: Research Assistant Job

Brexit part 2: thresholds, representation, and ‘what next?’

The other day I wrote a post-Brexit reaction which focused on the rather specialised question of how deliberative democrats ought to respond to politics in a ‘post-fact’ society. In that piece I raised but didn’t specifically respond to claims about parliamentary action and bare majorities for issues of such significance. Here’s that response. First, the issue of whether 50%+1 was the right threshold, or whether … Continue reading Brexit part 2: thresholds, representation, and ‘what next?’

Brexit, deliberative democracy, and the unforced force of the better argument

It’s more than a week after the vote in the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union, and it’s taken me this long to write something. I mourn for a Britain that can be so courageous and welcoming, but has now legitimised blaming ‘the other’ to deflect blame at home. I am concerned for my many European friends in Britain, some of whom now … Continue reading Brexit, deliberative democracy, and the unforced force of the better argument

2017 deliberative democracy summer school announced

The 2017 edition of the University of Canberra’s excellent deliberative summer schools has just been announced. These are great – two days, 30-or-so participants from big names to just-starting PhD students, focusing on cutting edge themes in deliberative theory and practice, with lovely hosts and great surrounds. The 2015 event was excellent and I’m sure this won’t disappoint, so register now! Contact details are on the poster … Continue reading 2017 deliberative democracy summer school announced