Oz & NZ Spirit of Democracy

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The Oz & NZ Spirit of Democracy is a research paper by Joanne Gail.

This book outlines the history of democracy of Australia and NZ.   It explains why citizen participation is important to individuals and communities and why citizen participation is under threat.

The book examines emerging trends around citizen engagement, what the theories are and what ideas are working.

Oz & NZ Spirit of Democracy features Australian and New Zealand based non-government organisations that are working to improve citizen participation in government decision making.

SKU: 1


Published April 2017

Table of Contents

Foreword by Cheryl Kernot
Executive Summary


  • Methodology
  • Interview Questions
  • Participation by Respondents

Why Community Engagement and Citizen Participation?

  • Social Impact of Community Engagement and Citizen Participation
  • Benefits to individuals
  • Benefits to communities
  • Benefits to social policy
  • Benefits to service delivery

Pressures for the evolution of democracy

  • Technology
  • Globalisation
  • Dissatisfaction of citizens
  • Alternatives to Democracy

History of citizen participation in Australian and New Zealand democracies.

  • Australia
  • New Zealand

Theory of change for citizen participation & community engagement

  • Challenges in engaging communities
  • IAP2 Spectrum
  • 4D: Four dimensions of democracy
  • Techniques for community engagement

Organisations emerging for community engagement

  • Types of organisations evolving democracy
  • Organisations not discussed in the report

Organisation Profiles

  • Australian Futures Project
  • Bang the Table
  • Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPaD)
  • Capire Consulting Group
  • Code for Australia
  • CoDesign Studio
  • Delib – Australia
  • Deliberately Engaging
  • Flux
  • GetUp
  • International Association of Public Participation (IAP2)
  • Loomio
  • NewDemocracy Foundation
  • Online Direct Democracy
  • OpenAustralia Foundation
  • OurSay
  • People Decide
  • PoliVOTE
  • PublicVoice
  • Snap Send Solve
  • Townhall
  • United People (UPworld)
  • Vote Compass / Vox Pop Labs

Common themes and learnings

  • The Tardis: bigger on the inside
  • Diversity
  • Room for expansion
  • Storytelling: the personal is political
  • Talkin’ ‘bout an evolution…
  • The rise of populism and issue based democracies
  • Massive growth but the need for structural challenges
  • Only the strong survive

The chicken or the egg?

  • Government or community?
  • Technical or adaptive?
  • Speak or listen?
  • Competition or collaboration
  • Purpose or profit
  • Direct or deliberative

Location, location, location

  • International nature of citizen participation
  • Think global, act local
  • Concentration in particular localities

Conclusion and recommendations

  • Gaps in this research
  • In summary

Appendix 1: About the Author
Appendix 2: Organisational Websites


Table of Tables

  • Table 1: Summary of featured organisations
  • Table 2: Methods of Engagement

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Types of social work based on the increasing size of the group
  • Figure 2: Personal is political cycle of social work
  • Figure 3: The Hybrid Spectrum


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