What is the Canberra Forum?

The Canberra Forum is an innovative democratic process and an Australia first. It brings together a randomly selected group of people like you who broadly represent the entire community. The people who attend will learn about issues, discuss them with one another, and then make recommendations about what should happen and how things should change.


Why I am trialling the Canberra Forum
At a time when trust in government and politicians is low and Australia increasingly polarised, The Canberra Forum is a valuable opportunity for me to engage with the community on a deeper level.

I am as committed to ongoing and deep engagement with our community as I have always done. The Forum will provide an additional and a more scientific method to my existing work.

Importantly, The Forum will give me the opportunity to hear from voices that might not be otherwise heard.

I’m passionate about deliberative democracy and this forum will help me open stronger communication channels so I can better understand the diverse needs of the Canberra community and agree on a way to best represent them in Parliament.


Who is running the Forum?

Alicia Payne is your local Member of Parliament and is a member of the Labor Party. Alicia is a born and raised Canberran and mother of two young children. She has represented you in the Federal Parliament since 2019. To learn more about Alicia visit www.aliciapayne.com.au/about/alicia.

Democracy Co supports communities and governments to find sustainable solutions to some of the biggest and most complex problems of our time: including climate change, community resilience, and rebuilding democratic processes in regions facing conflict. Their team are global leaders in democratic engagement, with a strong and proud pedigree of policy, politics, and deliberative engagement strategy and design, both in Australia and overseas. Their work is nonpartisan and impartial.

The Sortition Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in recruiting and selecting people by lottery to take part in these kinds of events - in a way that is broadly representative of the wider population. www.sortitionfoundation.org


What will taking part involve?

If you are selected to take part you will have the opportunity to meet with individuals from all walks of life who live in the Canberra Electorate. You will hear from engaging speakers, and you will discuss the issues involved in small groups, with facilitators to make sure everyone has their voice heard. You do not need to have any prior knowledge of the topics – all the information you need will be provided during the day.


How will you ensure that the event is accessible?                                               

The in-person meeting will be held at an accessible venue and will be catered. If you have any needs in relation to the venue, meals, or travel, just let us know.

The information provided during the event will be as jargon-free as possible. There will be opportunities to ask speakers to explain what they mean if what they are saying is not clear.


How participants in The Forum will be selected

8,000 golden tickets are being sent to people on the electoral roll. Every community member has an equal chance of being selected - whether they are teachers, doctors, builders or students.  These invitations ask people to register their interest in being involved and ask people to provide information about themselves, which will allow the Sortition Foundation to select a group that is diverse in terms of age, gender, location, interests and level of school attainment.

Note – we want people aged 16-18 to be involved too – so we have asked the recipients of the invitation share the opportunity with the young people in their household too


How can I get involved in The Forum?

If you haven’t been randomly selected to be a Forum participant you can still contribute. Our community survey is going to be used by The Forum to select the most important issues for Canberrans – setting the agenda for The Forum. I would encourage you to participate in the survey – HERE

Also be sure to watch this space as we will be sharing information about the work of The Forum as it progresses.

In addition, your voice can still be heard by me in all the normal ways – you can contact me here


How independent is this process?

Both the recruitment process and the facilitation of the Forum are independent of Alicia Payne MP and her office. The aim is to hear from and represent a cross-section of Canberrans, not just those who voted for Alicia.


What is the Forum doing?

It is important that the work of The Forum is transparent for all Canberrans to see. As a consequence, we will be sharing The Forum’s work on this website.

You will be able to find the following information in this section as the work of the Forum progresses.

  • Agendas
  • Papers / Relevant research considered by The Forum
  • Reports
  • Videos of the Expert Sessions – where experts present on the topics chosen by The Forum.