Yesterday I pointed out why having 1000 of the best and brightest minds descending on Canberra on one long weekend sounds like a daft idea. Too many people all at one time trying to offer solutions to this country’s problems is no way to actually listen and learn. The problem of volunteers having to pay their own way after having been selected to attend made no sense to me either. The impression that our Prime Minister was procrastinating by holding far too many talkfests instead of getting down to business was worrying me and still is.
So here is my suggestion on how the public can have an input into problems in our country.
Each of the ten groups should come to Canberra separately- no more than 100 delegates at a time. Every three months another group could attend. The group of 100 could be divided into ten which means that the size of the group is not too large to be heard. Delegates would all get a chance to talk and debate other suggestions. This could on go for about two years or so while ideas are recorded and discussed and then reports are made to be digested by the government. Some ideas will be worth adopting while others will inevitably be a lot of venting and raving on. That’s to be expected and happens at all summits.
With only 100 delegates to be catered to, there should be no out of pocket expenses for any of the delegates. It makes a lot of logistic sense.
Talkback radio this morning was full of rubbish about experts not being invited but it seems to me that there should be a group of experts in each field to run the entire thing and bring it together. Just because one is an expert in the health field, for example, should not mean that one should not contribute. Leaving out experts is simple stupidity. It’s the sort of thing that one would expect from ignorant public opinion, wouldn’t it?
Listen to the rather hyperbolic “best and brightest” , by all means, but not all at once and make it easy for them to contribute. If it sounds like a talkfest from the chattering classes who may regard it as a whinging session, then precious time and effort will have been squandered.
I am not a fan of summits per se, because there is a lot of grandstanding at them. I think that smaller groups work better but it’s worth giving this a try. I hope that it turns out better than the usual “We must do something. This is something. So let’s do it.”