A Deliberation Journey: Participants’ Perspectives

A Deliberation Journey: Participants’ Perspectives


The feeling between the selection
process and then moving into meet-and-greet was there’s a bit of
trepidation but also some excitement that I’ve become involved in the process. It can be a little bit unnerving but I guess I was hopeful that we were going to be able to collaborate well together. Wow you know these people are great they actually invite their their critics – their angry critics – to come and join the panel and give give their opinion and help them
make new policy so, wow, I was impressed. You get to meet the higher people – the
people who actually sit in the position who are giving you the services but
they’re asking you – ‘Artika: how can we improve service for you.’ It was like every question that we asked got answered, we’ve got access to everybody, there was nothing that was off limits, nothing that
we were told ‘no-you can’t touch it no – computers say no’ or anything
like that. I didn’t expect it to be as
rigorous as what it was I guess. I thought it might be – I did think that maybe it might be a little superficial.
But it soon occurred to me that, no, this is, you know, quite a serious
project. In the end there was such a mixture of so many different people from
different walks of life, that I felt somehow and as a as a computer person
myself I thought that the tools used to select these people were very very
clever, All the various information and research
we received from community stakeholders around Geelong – all of that information
coming together really helped me to come to the decision that I made and also for
all our jurors with the decision that we collectively made. Probably what surprised me
initially was the diversity of the people on the jury – by age, by
background, by reason for being on the jury. Really, it felt like we actually we
counted – our opinion actually really counted. It wasn’t just something they
were doing to tick a box to say they engaged with the community.
They actually really cared about what we we thought. It’s possible, therefore, to get
complete strangers to work together on a collaborative process like this one and
get a result that suits the majority not just the minority. It was coming together and agreeing on
what was more important that council can actually change to make things better
for us. It’s about being respectful you know – everybody comes from a different
walk of life and everyone sees something different. We jammed a lot of a lot of learning, a lot of conversation, a lot of discussion and just a lot of ideas
and concepts and decision making into a very compact short period of time. I think it’s made me a little bit more
motivated to get involved and just to understand things a little bit better. Whilst didn’t expect my opinion was always the right opinion it was really
good that my opinion could be you know sort of my biases could be swayed one
way or another based on talking to others in the group and hearing their views. It just made me feel better about
Geelong as a place to live. I actually was quite emotional I was so
proud of the work we have done and the journey that we went on as a group. It was actually really good having that
moment at the end of it – that you know – the symbolism
of the handing over of the report. It’s like you have fulfilled
a responsibility given to you. The most important thing about this
process is that there’s no rank, there’s no hierarchy,
no one is better than anyone else, no one’s voice can be louder than anyone
elses. It’s really important it is to listen to other people because you don’t –
you learn a lot by just taking a step back and actually listening to what
people have to say. You can learn a lot in the process – you can learn a lot about yourself
going through the process. They really get a chance to hear from a
group of people who are prepared to work towards their key objective. So, if the
organisation lays out an objective, they’re going to get a large spectrum of people,
through a deliberative process, that will contribute to their goal. Juries are a terrific way to get members of the community involved in the decision making process for your organisation. It allows you to put
forward a problem to them, explain the possible options, present to them
research and different opinions on all the possible outcomes and allow them to take
that on board, as a jury representing the community, and come back to you with a
well researched and reasoned recommendation. It is important to listen
to what people have to say. Some of the best ideas can come from people you wouldn’t even expect them to come from. Yes. It can be it can be hard. You know – you may not hear
what you want to hear all the time. But you know, at the end of the day, by consulting your constituents, you will receive better outcomes.

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