All over Australia grassroots organisations are forming to have more say in democracy.
Many people in the electorate of North Sydney are disheartened with the current political process and the failure of the party system to provide true representation or deal with major issues that are of concern. They’re tired of writing letters, signing petitions and meeting with elected representatives, only to have their views ignored in favour of party donors, lobbyists, special interest groups, and the party line.
We believe that each one of us can play a constructive role in lifting standards of behaviour, focusing on ideas and policies and strengthening the way we are represented.
Who we are
We are not a political party. We are a non-partisan community group who wants to improve our democracy. We feel that our voices are not being heard and as a result we, as a society, are not reaching our potential.
Drawing on the experience and success of other organisations we aim to establish processes to ensure our values and voices are heard, not just before an election but through ongoing engagement.
Voices of North Sydney wants to help our representative represent us better.
Our goal is to strengthen active participation by the whole community in the processes of democracy. In doing so we stand by these values:
We welcome and encourage participation by all people, irrespective of political allegiance, age, gender and provide safe supportive processes to ensure a diversity of opinions are listened to, respected and heard.
We engage in deliberative collaborative discussions based on reputable evidence and analysis, to find and build on shared values, finding common ground and avoiding polarising arguments to improve and formulate policy.
To act ethically, accountably, transparently, honestly and respectfully.
Build the network by engaging in more kitchen table conversations to understand what are the most important issues for people and what they think makes for a strong community and good government.
Launch a report on the ideas and outcomes of the kitchen table conversations including:
- What are the issues that concern us most
- What does a better and stronger democratic process look like
- What Voices of North Sydney plans to do, our values and how we will
- Call for a Candidate to represent us.
Selection of candidate using a process similar to that used successfully by Voices for Indi.
Kitchen Table Conversations
Kitchen Table Conversations are an Australian democratic innovation that was developed by Voices for Indi in Victoria. They involve small groups coming together to discuss democracy, good government and the issues that matter to them.
Groups can be made up of friends, neighbours and relatives. Ideally Kitchen Table Conversations involve participants with a range of views that can be discussed in a respectful setting.
These events encourage a deeper engagement while also strengthening social and community ties, and they are also fun!
Voices of North Sydney held its first kitchen table conversations in January 2020.
If you would like to attend a Kitchen Table Conversation or are interested in holding one yourself please contact us. Email: email@example.com
It's a Growing Movement
Recently ‘Voices of’ community groups have sprung up all over Australia. People in the federal electorates of Mackellar, Hume, Warringah and Indi are speaking up and participating in their democracy. In fact, it’s global, with citizens all over the world taking an active role and demanding government accountability and integrity:
No, we’re a group of citizens; parents, workers, students who are deeply concerned about issues that are not being addressed by our representative.
The next federal election could be called as early as 7th August 2021 – that only gives us a short time to hear everyone’s views, find a candidate who represents us, and run a campaign.
Federal parliament has a good handful of active independents who represent their constituents. But they need one more. One more independent, especially one from North Sydney, will break the party political deadlock that prevents good policy.
Our Federal member, like all party politicians, votes with the party and in the interests of the party and its donors. For example, our Federal member has voted strongly against a Federal ICAC and strongly against action on Climate Change. These are both issues that have been identified as very important by our electorate.
Voting is important, but voting every 3 years for candidates who have been preselected for us by a tiny minority doesn’t actually allow us to be heard or represented. In fact, we have nil to negligible effect on party policy. Fortunately, in this country, we can preselect our own independent candidate. This way our voices will be heard and we will be represented.
Bruce is a family lawyer who has raised his family in Greenwich. When not working he enjoys film, travel, cooking and rowing.
Steph studied political science and is currently working as a Communications, engagement and facilitation specialist and a yoga teacher.