About

The Citizens Parliament in 2009 was an assembly of 150 citizens, one from each federal electorate, selected at random from the electoral roll. Our youngest participant was 18, our oldest 90. We began by sending out letters to around 9 000 people randomly selected asking if they’d be interested in participating if they were selected. Almost 30 per cent said they would be. This is an astonishingly high positive response rate, especially given the demands we would make on their time, and gives the lie to everyone who says ordinary people aren’t interested in participating in politics—provided they are given some decent politics to participate in, which they usually aren’t. From this 30 per cent we did a further more or less random selection to get the 150. I say ‘more or less’ because we had to adjust to make sure we got several indigenous participants, and a good spread on the basis of age, gender, and education (technically, we used stratified random sampling).