Canberra's first citizen jury gets underway on topic of ACT's CTP insurance scheme
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Canberra's first citizen jury gets underway on topic of ACT's CTP insurance scheme

Tiring and overwhelming, but ultimately a genuine opportunity to be part of the solution. That's how Saturday, day one of the first citizen's jury in Canberra, was described.

The jury is looking into Canberra's compulsory third party insurance scheme to see what, if any, changes should be made. The topic has been on the political agenda for years, but no outcome has been reached.

Isabella Buckley,18, from Griffith and 73-year-old Mark Dickerson from O'Connor brought their perspectives to the CTP citizen jury.

Isabella Buckley,18, from Griffith and 73-year-old Mark Dickerson from O'Connor brought their perspectives to the CTP citizen jury.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

Chief minister Andrew Barr decided in April to consider citizen juries to help make decisions on certain topics, and in August it was announced a CTP scheme would be first on the agenda.

The 50 citizens were recruited in a process that aimed to reach 7500 Canberrans performed by Democracy Co, a company specialising in citizen juries in other jurisdictions including South Australia. Participants responded to a letter in the mail, and are paid $450 for their efforts.

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Democracy Co co-chief executive Emma Lawson said the objective of the jury was to form a brief on what they think is important in a CTP scheme.

From that brief, a suite of models would be created that would then be taken back to the jury for consideration.

On Saturday, the jury was being "immersed in the CTP scheme", with sessions like "CTP 101", and "understanding unconscious bias".

Ms Lawson said across the group there was a diverse range of Canberrans, including those who had knowledge of CTP and those who didn't.

The youngest participant, 18-year-old Isabella "Fuz" Buckley, and one of the oldest participants, Mark Dickerson, 73, both owned cars but had little detailed knowledge of CTP insurance.

Despite their age difference, both participants had put their hand up for the same reason.

"I saw it as an opportunity to participate in the democratic process," Mr Dickerson said.

"The topic didn't interest me especially, and I didn't know anything about it, but it is the process and participating in it to see whether or not I made more sense of our democracy than the current circus on the hill we have here," he said.

Mr Dickerson said he came with the prejudice that he'd like to see the premium "a little lower", but was open minded and willing to take into account all sides of the debate.

"It's tiring, uncomfortable in the seats, but it has been very valuable to listen and also very interesting to see the way in which the 50 of us are starting to, to an extent, work together."

Miss Buckley said she also saw it as an opportunity to participate in the democratic process.

"I've found it pretty overwhelming for the most part," she said.

"I've been given a lot of information … a lot of things have gone over my head."

However, Miss Buckley said, she had plenty of new knowledge and the opinions of others to help her form one of her own.

The jury will meet over two weekends in October before coming back next year to deliberate on the models designed from their influence.

The citizen jury comes off the back of a NSW government decision to refund motorists up to $120 on their green slips from December, following the changes aimed at stamping out "exaggerated claims" and insurer "super profits".

Kimberley Le Lievre is the Editor of The Sunday Canberra Times

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