CTP citizens' jurors grateful to be heard
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CTP citizens' jurors grateful to be heard

Deahnne McIntyre nearly pulled out of Canberra's citizens' jury on compulsory third party insurance because she felt too "dumb" to take part.

McIntyre - a former public servant, elite sportswoman, Paralympic gold medallist, and Order of Australia recipient - is anything but.

Deahnne McIntyre participated in the Canberra citizens' jury on compulsory third party insurance.

Deahnne McIntyre participated in the Canberra citizens' jury on compulsory third party insurance.

Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

And now, as the deliberative democracy pilot draws to a close, McIntyre said she's grateful to have had the chance to use her personal experience to advocate for people with physical and psychosocial disabilities within the jury.

"I'm very proud that I've been able to do that on behalf of the disadvantaged in Canberra," McIntyre said.

The 50 jurors are set to meet for the final time this weekend to vote on which of the four CTP schemes best meets the priorities they set out in their first meeting.

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The models will be released to the public on Monday although the jurors have been mulling over them since last week.

The jury has been controversial since its inception, for its "boring" subject matter and "flawed design", with calls for an inquiry into the process before it was even finished.

The exercise at times bordered on farcical, with accusations of bias because of political donations, and even a second "jury" funded by CTP lawyers.

But jurors say it's been worthwhile and are open to more exercises like this being run in Canberra.

While she would have liked to see more people with disabilities on the jury, McIntyre said she felt empowered by the process.

"It's been really worthwhile and very rewarding," McIntyre said.

"I'm not into the political side of things because I'm a very sporty person and the Commonwealth Games are my focus at the moment.

"But this process has given me the confidence to actually go and talk to you [elected] people, I felt confident to go up to the Chief Minister at the end of the year to have a chat to him about to jury."

Mark Dickerson, 73, said he had a "mixture" of feelings about democracy before joining the jury.

"I was in a sense disengaged from the political process in a way," Mr Dickerson said.

"I thought, 'if I actually want to be engaged, this is my chance'."

However, Mr Dickerson will reserve his full judgement on the process until the government legislates on the jurors' preferred model, as promised.

He also thinks there are some decisions that politicians should not abdicate responsibility for.

"I think and example of where you don't want to vote on something is something like Brexit, which was bizarre," Mr Dickerson said.

"[Equity of marriage] was the responsibility of our elected politicians and they ducked it. Some decisions, they should lead the way. We don't want a referendum on, say, capital punishment because it always tends to drift back to reinstating it. But nonetheless, there is clearly some things that I think are well worth doing that way."

Mr Dickerson said the CTP citizens' jury worked because they were asked to make a judgement on human values, not the nuances of each scheme.

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"To say, 'how on earth could 50 people off the street know how to design an insurance scheme' [is wrong]. That's not what we're doing. We're asking what human outcomes to want from an insurance scheme, if these things happen. And in that sense, many of the questions seem to be no-brainers," Mr Dickerson said.

Those who want to watch the final citizens' jury session in action on Saturday and Sunday can RSVP at: yoursay.act.gov.au/ctp.

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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