How are we going to make representative government work better for us in the ACT?

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Beth Slatyer and Peter Tait

It is 12 months until the next ACT election.
We want to use that election to leverage change toward making government be better.
Our focus is on improving our, the people’s, working relationship with our representatives.

There are two sides to this:

  1. Being clear what our MLAs’ roles and responsibilities are, how we want them to work for us, how are they going to involve us in:
    • setting the policy agenda,
    • in policy development and
    • monitoring policy implementation, and
    • being clear about how we know they are doing these things well.
  1. Understanding what our role as citizens is on working with our MLAs to make sure they are doing as we want them to do for our common good.

Accordingly, we have three bodies of work.
1. Work with community groups and citizens to develop a set of clear expectations about what MLAs need to do to do their job for the common good, and what it is citizens need to do;

2. Find and promote ways for governments to help citizens participate meaningfully in:
• shaping the policy agenda,
• developing policy, and
• monitoring policy implementation;

3. Using our Candidate Statement exercise to help voters select candidates who will work while in office to change the system to promote citizen engagement, and improve mechanisms for integrity.

To do this we need people with a diverse variety of skills:
• Thinkers and analysts
• Activists and campaigners
• People networked into other organisations with whom we can collaborate
• People who can talk with and help friends and neighbours to also be active
• Artists and writers who can help inspire people and spread ideas.

What can you do?
1. Counter the cynicism about democracy and government. Help family, friends, colleagues and neighbours believe better democracy and good government is possible and achievable
2. Connect what your group’s or personal passion is to government failure and look at how joining in making government work better by strengthening democracy in general and helping our representatives work more with us, the people.
3. If not already, become an active citizen, and lead others to be active citizens, and learn more about how our political system is supposed to work, how we can make it work that way, and, where it needs to be better, how to make that change.
4. You might even join CAPaD and help us more directly in what ever way you can.

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