Margo Kingston

Margo Kingston

Co-publisher and editor-in-chief at No Fibs
Margo Kingston is a retired Australian journalist and climate change activist. She is best known for her stint as Phillip Adams’ ‘Canberra Babylon’ contributor and her work at The Sydney Morning Herald and #Webdiary. Since 2012, Kingston has been a citizen journalist, reporting and commenting on Australian politics via Twitter and No Fibs.
Margo Kingston

FIFTY VOTERS IN the seat of North Sydney will meet on October 29 for a Deliberative Democracy people’s summit to determine what they think should be done to solve the housing crisis. 

During our interview half way into her term, North Sydney’s #IndependentsDay MP Kylea Tink said she’s organising the experiment under the mentorship of New Democracy, an Australian Foundation which believes that:

“When given the authority, time, and information, everyday people take the tough questions, side-step party lines, and deliver sensible answers.”

New Democracy

The last I’d heard some #IndependentsDay cross benchers had called for a National People’s Summit on Housing, but a local version, wow!

Here’s Kylea’s plan to ask her voters to give her policies on housing, intergenerational equity, climate and tax to take to the next election:

“Because it’s a deliberative democracy model, what we’re literally doing is we will identify a thousand people on the electoral role randomly and we will reach out to them and invite them to participate in this discussion. The sample will be geared so that it’s completely representative of our electorate in terms of age, socio-economic background, education. They don’t have to have had any contact with me previously. The aim is to then get 50 people who will at least commit to going through the process, and then over a period of about four weeks leading up to the summit themselves, that group of people will have the opportunity to engage with a number of think tanks in terms of what the think tanks are saying are opportunities for them. And then they will be convened into one kind of forum on the 29th of October to debate the ideas that they’ve heard. The other thing we’ll do is a general call across the electorate for people to submit their ideas. You know, if somebody’s got an idea, submit it. And then what we will do is put all of those ideas back through the think tanks to actually sanity check them to see whether they actually can be done.

“We’re doing it directly, but we’re working with an organization called New Democracy. So they are coaching us on how to do this because the hope, Margo, is we will do this in housing at the back end of this year. but then rolling into next year we will do it on intergenerational equity, we will do it on climate. 

“And so the plan for me is that in the back half of this term, what I actually do is make sure that whatever policy platform I’m taking to the next election is actually informed from the electorate of North Sydney. So they tell me what they wanna prioritize… I suspect that the tax piece will be there somewhere.” 

Kylea Tink, Independent MP for North Sydney

Some other key quotes from a very interesting and unusual member of the #IndependentsDay lineup: 

“I actually think Australians would really value an opportunity to hear how ideas are being debated and discussed, but the system believes that people want to see this conflict.”

“If I could do one thing in my time in politics and parliament for however long that may be, I sincerely hope it is just encouraging more people to understand that the democracy is theirs. You know, we can take it and shape it and do with it what we wish, but we have to accept the responsibility that it is ours.”

If Kylea’s experiment bears fruit, wouldn’t it be wonderful if every federal MP did the same in their seat?

Is this a way to break the big party’s deadlock on a policy issue neither dare touch? 

Go North Sydney!

PS: Kylea’s take on her journey from political neophyte to radical political disruptor was so interesting I did a transcript which you can read here :)