Over the next two years, we will conduct Community Preselections in each of Australia’s 150 federal electorates.
This is a big step in Australian democracy. But it is not new. It is a return to our roots. The painting below depicts a community preselection meeting in Bendigo, Victoria, in 1854. [Anon. Bendigo Regional Gallery]
We have to return to our roots because Australian democracy is broken.
Our parliaments and governments are now made up of the wrong sort of people. Instead of people with track records as problem solvers, innovators, community builders, entrepreneurs, thinkers and system designers, we have people who have mostly only ever done one thing – play politics. So long as this continues, we have no hope of meeting the many challenges facing the country.
We need a once-in-a-generation replacement of the current crop of politicians with a new batch of representatives who have proven track records in bringing people together, solving problems, and leading.
To enable this change, we will conduct a Community Preselection in every federal electorate to find a community leader to represent that electorate in parliament.
The Community Preselection ballot will take place in a Town Hall meeting with pitches from contending candidates, questions from preselectors, and an in-person vote (with no online or proxy voting).
We have called for nominations for the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 2022 federal election. Within 4 months of the receipt of each nomination, we will conduct a Community Preselection in that electorate. Additional nominations will be sought, with a closing date of one month prior to the date of Community Preselection ballot.
The Community Preselection will be conducted by three Community Commissioners in each electorate. The role of the three Commissioners is to:
a. organise the preselection and ballot process;
b. promote the preselection process in their electorate and enrol community participants; and
c. ensure complete openness and integrity in the process and ballot.
It is intended that the three Community Commissioners in each electorate will be drawn from different social and political backgrounds, with at least one Commissioner being a Justice of the Peace, an ex-magistrate or appeals tribunal official, or a respected community board chair.
To be eligible to participate and vote in the community preselection, participants must either:
a. register as a Community Preselector with a $10 registration payment (Community Preselectors are eligible to vote in a House of Representatives preselection ballot in November 2020 and a Senate preselection ballot in July 2021);
b. be a Full Member of The Sensible Centre (membership is open to members and non-members of political parties with full voting rights on payment of a $25 membership fee covering the period July 2019 to July 2021);
c. be a member of a Participating Political Party (a participating political party is a registered federal or state party that participates in the community search and preselection process, and agrees to support the preselected candidates in the federal election).
The Criteria for Candidates
We invite nominations from community leaders who:
a. have a history of bringing people together for the common good and a history of voluntary contribution in their electorate;
b. have a track record as a problem solver, innovator, community builder, entrepreneur, thinker or system designer;
c. are capable of representing the issues and challenges facing their electorate;
d. are capable of building trust and confidence in local democracy;
e. are able to mobilise hundreds of people in winning a seat in federal parliament in 2022, and
f. are not current or recent members of Liberal, National, Labor or Green parties.
Our goal is to have 1,000 community preselectors participate in the ballot in each electorate.
If you would like to volunteer to act as one of three Community Commissioners of this process in your electorate, please register your interest using this form.
To participate and vote in the Community Preselections0, register using this form.
The Community Preselections process is hosted and supervised by the Steering Committee of The Sensible Centre.