CAPaD is working for the best democracy we can have. This page shows off what we are doing and what we have done previously.

Please explore


Active Democracy ACT

It’s time for our voices to be heard: Active Democracy wants to change how our federal MPs work with and for us.

Active Democracy ACT is a group of citizens, inspired to work together to make this happen. We welcome others who want to join us to grow this group and help design our new politics.

Even if you can’t join us now, and you want us to be successful, you can help by letting others know about us.

An Active Democracy group has set up in Bean. Information and contact details are here.

People in Canberra and Fenner who want to join in, please click the Join in ... button.



The more people participating together, the stronger we can be.


DemFest 21

A festival celebrating  locally driven democracy in Australia.

Visit the DemFest21 site to view the presentations and watch the videos of the sessions

Community Assessment Tool for Participatory Processes

The Genuine Citizens Participation Action Group, a subgroup of CAPaD, has used the nine criteria outlined by the OECD's 'Catching the Deliberative Wave' report,to develop an assessment tool that the community can apply to any deliberative or participatory democracy process, to ascertain its level of integrity.

CAPaD’S reflections on our 6 year journey of learning and developing a the Community Assessment Tool for effective public deliberation is here: Developing a deliberative democracy assessment tool for communities. An open source Word document template for the Community Assessment Tool is available here. Please acknowledge the source. A reflection on the 2021 Gene Editing Citizens July that used this tool will be available in 2022.


CAPaD focusses on taking action to change politics so people can participate better in decisions.

We work through Action Groups.

Click on an Action Group box below for information on how to become involved.

Genuine Citizen Participation in Gov't

Citizens' Jury/Mini-public evaluation.
Continue working with Chief Minister's Directorate & IGPA.
Continue with Deliberate ACT — build community of interest & learning

MLA Roles, Relationships and Accountability

More clearly define people’s perspectives of the roles of our elected representatives to co-design improved active citizen participation.

Connected Communities

— Democracy Starts in Your Street —
With community groups look at the bigger picture
Promote narrative of wise decision-making, changing government

  • Alliance Building: meeting other groups and ACT government people and raising our profile, and additionally through the Citizens Juries and Urban Planning groups’ work.
  • Citizens Juries & Mini-Public Evaluation: a series of Hear the Participants events, and connections with government, academia (Canberra University Institute of Governance and Policy Analysis) through the Deliberate ACT community of practice.
  • Good Citizens Guide: indirectly, worked with the Frank Fenner Foundation on a basic Understanding and Using Government Effectively Manual.
  • Creating the New Story: the Action Group wove this thread into several other action groups’ work.
  • Kitchen Table Conversations Community Dialogue Methods: the Group revised the KTC kit and published it on our website.
  • MLA Accountability / Relationship: mapped out a plan of action, revised the 2016 candidate statements and as arranged a stall at the Southfest event to open dialogue with people about being represented.
  • Resources / Library (good-things-to-read): designed a topic list for our library and continued to collect useful material. This links to revamping the website to make if more accessible.
  • Social Change Training: activity here was immersed in the work of other actin groups.
  • Urban Planning Participation Working Group: continued informally in conversation with residents’ groups and other community organisations and our involvement in various ACT government consultations such as the Better Cities Engagement.

Urban Planning Participation Working Group

Implement the “asks” agreed by CAPaD & the Community Councils Urban Planning Working group in 2017 (incl building a community of practice)

Kitchen Table Conversations (KTC) Community Dialogue Methods Group

KTC methods developed

KTC Kit launched

Citizens’ Juries & Mini-Public Evaluation

Monitor evaluation of the ACT CTP Citizens Jury and Carer’s Strategy Panel, and advocate for more trials

Good Citizens’ Guide Writers

This has moved into various aspects of the Resources Hub.

Alliance Building

Advocate for our work with other organisations and explore ideas for collaboration

Social Change Training

Build community capacity for social change by working with ACT organisations to identify training needs and then to arrange (not deliver) that training

Resources (Good Things to Read)

Find and share through a resources 'library' (virtual) materials that inform members and the public

MLA Relationships

Explore new ways of defining the role of MLAs and holding them to account


2020 ACT Election — Discussion Group

Explore options for CAPaD action and advocacy in the lead-up to the next election

Creating the New Story

Produce and promote a vision for good participatory governance in the ACT and ideas for bringing that about



Why Kitchen Table Conversations?

CAPaD values the kitchen table conversation (KTC) method as a way to connect Canberrans through community-based, self-managing conversations. We believe that many people hosting and participating in KTCs will help create the pre-conditions for people to desire and be able to join in participatory democracy.

We want to use Kitchen Table Conversations as a way to bring people together to work toward all our objectives.

The primary aims of the KTC method are:

  • to connect people
  • to give them the chance to listen non-judgementally to what others think about things
  • to safely express and develop their own opinions.

CAPaD does not primarily use KTCs as a way of gathering input to Government consultation processes.
We do advocate for other community groups and the ACT government to use community dialogue such as KTCs, but we support them to do that where we feel we can add value.

KTCs can feed into other participatory and deliberative practices.

The KTC Methods Action Group was formed at the start of 2018. It reviewed KTC materials developed and used by other groups (including SEE-Change in the ACT), and developed its own KTC Kit with optional discussion questions.

This was launched in November 2018 and is free for all to use. You can download the CAPaD KTC kit here.

Go ahead and develop new discussion topics and modify the process however you wish, and use it for any small-group discussion.

CAPaD would love to hear about your experiences and any feedback you might have. Please contact by emailing the Secretary.

What’s in the kit?

  • 1. Summary of the KTC process
  • 2. Why CAPaD recommends Kitchen Table Conversations
  • 3. How the process works
  • 4. The courage to host
  • 5. Conversation agreements
  • 6. Role of the Host
  • 7. Role of the Scribe
  • Attachment A: Conversation guide A: Democracy in the ACT
  • Attachment B: Conversation guide B: What’s important to you? (ACT-region focus)
  • Attachment C: Conversation guide C: Choose your own topic
  • Attachment D: Sample invitation

Opinion, comment and Letters to the Editor

2020 September October

October 16 Article in the RiotACT by Genevieve Jacobs: What do all those candidates really believe? Here’s how to find out

October 8 City News, Peter Tait Getting the Canberra we want to live in. Why invite candidates to tell us about themselves?

October 6 Canberra Times front page advertisement for the candidate statement.

September 17-23 City News Advertorial on our election program.

2020 May: ACT Media coverage: letters to editors about our candidate statement exercise in a letter published in the Canberra Times in mid-May and the City News in late May.

2019 Dec: See our piece in ACTCOSS journal about CAPaD's thoughts on more accountable representation.

2019 Nov: Rebecca Vassarotti reports on our MLA interviews reportExploring political representation in the ACTpiece in RiotACT.

2019 Oct: City News, Peter Tait’s Neat summary of CAPaD’s position on ideas to change ACT democracy.

Media stories

October 2: Peter Tait interviewed on 2XX, updating voters on the election and candidate statements, democracy, and lots more.

2020 August Peter Tait was interviewed on 2XX on Friday 28th August about democracy, our upcoming election, the candidate statements and more. Hear the wide ranging interview at this link.

2020 May Peter Tait was interviewed as part of an ABC piece, Amid a coronavirus pandemic, ACT election candidates are preparing for a very different campaign. “The alliance hopes this year's campaign will force candidates to use such options {candidate statements} to connect with voters. And Dr Tait says that, with the usual campaign tactics suspended and politics out of peoples' faces, voters may turn to candidates' statements to figure out where their vote should fall.”


March 2020: We have explained our broad 2020 Election strategy in Awakening Democracy by Robust Representation in John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations and a copy is in our website.


September 2020, 2nd and 9th  Empathy and Collaborative Meaning-Making: An Overview of Citizens’ Councils

The details from the sessions held can be found on this page. This workshop gave a taste of Dynamic Facilitation as a process in the “operating system” of the Citizens’ Councils recently featured in the OECD’s report on “Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions”. It was hosted and facilitated by Rosa Zubizarreta, Andy Paice, Martha Cuffy and Mark Spain.



August 2020 Mark Evans, Democracy 2025 – bridging the trust divide 

The YouTube video in here. The powerpoint presentation is here.



2020 Citizen Review of 2017-18 ACT Deliberative Processes
Lyn Stephen's paper: Government with the people - building trust in deliberative processes, and slide presentation.

The YouTube video is available here.


June 2020 ACT Election - Choosing the candidate who will deliver government with we, the people.

Zoom presentation and discussion.



Video thumbnail: Revitalising Democracy - Rob Salter

May 2020 Revitalising democracy: possibilities for electorate level mobilisations to achieve better parliamentary representation

Look at the session video here.


Are you interested in exploring how citizens and governments can better deliberate, decide and collaborate — together?

Join members of the public, academics, passionate democracy advocates, engagement practitioners, public servants.

Deliberate ACT is a collaboration between the

  • Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy,
  • University of Canberra’s Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance
  • ACT Government.

Meet Up 9

Recap of Meet Up #9 held on 14 February 2019, when we considered:

Youth Engagement with Democracy — opportunities, competencies and challenges.

Meet Up 11

Recap of Meet Up #11 held on 23 May 2019, when we considered:

Deliberating Well — What conditions are needed?

Meet Up 12

Yet to be held

Meet Up 13

Yet to be held

Meet Up 14

Yet to be held

Meet Up 15

Yet to be held

Meet Up 16

Yet to be held

Meet Up 1 and 2

Establishing ground rules and purpose
21 February 2018 and 22 March 2018

• Recap

• Terms of Reference

• Updated Ground Rules

Meet Up 3

Overview of the recent Citizens’ Jury on Compulsory Third Party Insurance and Citizens Jury Evaluation Principles
2 May 2018

• Agenda

• Recap

• Principles for the trial of Citizens' Juries in the ACT

Meet Up 4

Trust in Deliberative Process
28 June May 2018

• Agenda

• Recap

Meet Up 5

Deliberative Engagement — Presentation by
Professor Janette Hartz-Karp
2 August 2018

• Agenda

• Recap

Meet Up 6

Presentations from the University of Canberra’s Centre for Global Governance and Deliberative Democracy
6 September 2018

• Recap

Meet Up 7

Deliberative design: A rear window view from the ACT
18 October 2018

• Agenda

• Recap

Ground Rules and Feedback


• Updated Ground Rules

• 2018 Feedback Report