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Australian public policyProgressive ideas in the neo-liberal ascendency$
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Chris Miller and Lionel Orchard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447312673

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447312673.001.0001

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Citizen engagement in Australian policy making

Citizen engagement in Australian policy making

(p.333) Nineteen Citizen engagement in Australian policy making
Australian public policy

Chris Miller

Policy Press

This chapter calls for authentic and sophisticated citizen deliberation in policy making to better address new complexities across public policy and re-visit contemporary understandings of public value. Not only will citizen engagement, relatively weak in Australia, enhance the quality of policy making but will reinvigorate the democratic process at a time of increasing disillusionment with representative government, politicians and the political elite. As an example of failed policy making and the absence of any ‘duty of care’ in working through complex issues requiring fundamental change and adaptation the chapter highlights water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. Within the broader context the governance-governmentality continuum is explored as well as the attractiveness of ‘localism’ The chapter examines recent government led initiatives in Victoria and Queensland as well as highlighting some popular spaces created from within civil society. The chapter concludes on a pessimistic note that there are few signs of a willingness or capacity to engage in the deepening of democracy as a prerequisite for citizen engagement.

Keywords:   citizen engagement, public value, deliberation, water reform, governance, localism, deepening democracy

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