Just 117 Canberrans put up hand for Andrew Barr's CTP insurance citizen's jury
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Just 117 Canberrans put up hand for Andrew Barr's CTP insurance citizen's jury

Just 117 Canberrans nominated to be part of Chief Minister Andrew Barr's much-promoted citizens' jury on compulsory third party insurance, about half of whom will sit on the jury when it sits this month.

Despite 6000 invitations being sent to people to nominate for the jury, it seems few were interested, lending weight to Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur's concerns the idea risked "boring the people".

Of the 56 people chosen, 45 per cent are women, 66 per cent own their own home and more than 10 per cent are under 24 years old.

Some 79 per cent drive a car, 11 per cent use public transport, five per cent use ride a bike and four per cent ride motorcycles.

While the jury was meant to exclude people with a stake in the industry, and jurors were asked if they worked in the industry or relevant government policy roles, there has been no verification process to confirm that.

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Democracy Co's Emma Lawson, who ran the jury selection process, said they would ask again jurors to confirm that again on the day of the first sitting, but they were not able to verify those claims.

But she said that given Canberra's size, any people actually turning up that did work in the industry but failed to disclose that, were running a big risk that someone would recognise them during the sittings.

The legal profession is also fighting any changes to CTP insurance, a move it had succeeded in doing when changes were proposed in 2011.

ACT Law Society president Sarah Avery has previously raised concerns about the integrity of the entire process, after the government awarded a $770,000 contract for modelling of different options before the jury had met.

It is part of a wider $2.8 million deliberative democracy trial the government is running, with a second jury to focus on developing a new carer's strategy for the ACT.

The jury will sit on two weekends this month, to consider what the priorities are for changing the ACT's current CTP insurance scheme, before that is handed to a stakeholder reference group to develop specific models.

The jury will then meet again to make a "final determination" on which model was best for the community, before that goes to the government to consider.

Daniel Burdon is a reporter for The Canberra Times

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