Oz Blog News Commentary

Citizen-jury appointments?

June 24, 2021 - 02:51 -- Admin

Dear Troppodillians, lend me your critical eye. I ask you to consider the system of citizen-jury appointments I have in mind, and tell me how the vested interests would try to game it, ie why it would not work and whether the system can be improved. Bear with me as I describe what I have in mind.

Suppose that in 10 years time in Australia, there is a citizen-jury-system for appointments for the entire upper layer of the public sector. One jury, one top position. Politicians would still be in charge of policy and Budgets, but juries would appoint all the top people working in the public sector. The system would hold for all large entities receiving significant state funding:

  • Universities
  • large hospitals
  • heads of Government Departments
  • State Media
  • Arts Councils
  • Statistical Agencies
  • etc.

So every year, hundreds of top-positions would be decided upon by juries. Consider how this would go for, saying, the director of the ABC.

20 random adult citizens are selected from the household register. These 20 are given a budget and a time-frame to appoint a new director of the ABC television broadcaster, who would be appointed for 5 years. This is a civic duty for which they are compensated and get time off work. They get together physically.

There are no ‘minders’ to tell the jury how to do their job. The jury composition is kept secret till the decision. All the jury has to come up with is an appointment, a motivation for the appointed candidate, and an explanation for expenses made. The jury makes their own procedures, find their own outside advice, and decide themselves what matters. They deliberate: what do we expect from a State broadcaster? What kind of person could do this? Where should we look for suitable candidates? How are we going to decide?

There is much to say about the pros of this system: independence, randomness, true democracy, strengthening the public sector versus the politicians, etc.

But I am looking for the dangers: big money and powerful beasts will try to find a way to corrupt the system. How would they do it and what could help to safeguard the system?