In 2014 the city of Sydney Council convened a Citizens' Jury of 43 Sydneysiders to deliberate on how to create a safe and vibrant nightlife in Sydney.
Problems and Purpose
The jury were asked by the City of Sydney council to deliberate on the following question and provide five recommendations :
How can we ensure we have a vibrant and safe Sydney nightlife?
The jury were given their remit by the City of Sydney and supported by the New South Wales government, who committed to presenting the jury's recommendations verbatim to parliament . This commitment is in line with the South Australian government who convened a similar CJ on Adelaide nightlife.
Background History and Context
The jury was inspired by a similar citizens' jury that took place in Adelaide in 2013 that considered the same issue. Achieving a balance between ensuring safety, tackling alcohol-related crime and retaining a vibrant night-time economy is an issue that falls across different policy areas and affects many people.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
The process was commissioned by the City of Sydney and supported by the New South Wales government and Premier.
It was organised and facilitated by the New Democracy Foundation, an independent research organisation. The Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation also played a substantial role in the process. The foundation campaigns for measures to change youth and alcohol culture. Thomas Kelly was 18 years when he was killed in an unprovoked attack in Sydney in July 2012 and the Foundation was set up in his honour to campaign for better protection against alcohol-related violence.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
New Democracy Foundation organised the recruitment of participants. In addition to a random selection from a sample of 20,000 citizens across metropolitan Sydney, there was also a random draw from university students to increase the response rate from the 18-24 age group .
To further ensure fairness, the final 43 jurors did not belong to any political parties or interest groups .
Methods and Tools Used
This case used a citizens' jury, broadly defined as a small group of randomly-selected individuals who come together to deliberate on an issue after hearing from experts in order to provide recommendations on future action for decision-makers . The deliberative democratic process is intended to result in consensus.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The research and evaluation process undertaken by the Jury included presentations and submissions from the public, professionals from various fields of expertise. Decisions were made supermajoritarian voting (80% +1).
The remit for the jury was deliberately open, to allow the jurors to consider the issue as broadly as possible and encourage innovative ideas.
In addition to hearing experts and receiving submissions as part of the deliberative process, the jury also took a tour of night-time Sydney and visited a busy emergency department to experience the issue of night-time violence first-hand .
The public were also invited to observe the jury in action during the information and learning phases.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The jury produced a final report of 25 recommendations in total, under the following five themes:
- Policing and safety
- Education and media
- Lockouts and licensing
The government response is summarised as follows:
- Supported: 6 recommendations
- Supported in principle: 9 recommendations
- Supported in part: 1 recommendation
- Noted: 5 recommendations
- Not supported: 4 recommendations
In her response to the jury's recommendations, the Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore also mentioned that several recommendations were in line with existing plans by the council. OPEN Sydney is the City of Sydney's strategic action plan to develop Sydney at night and embodies a number of the recommendations, although these were already in development and are not a direct result of the jury.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Want to contribute an analysis of this initiative? Help us complete this section!
 Citizen's Policy Jury on a Vibrant and Safe Sydney Nightlife. (April 2013). Retrieved from https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/papers/DBAssets/tabledpaper/webAttachments/22786/Vibrant%20and%20Safe%20Sydney%20Nightlife.pdf
 New Democracy. (2013). City of Sydney - Safe & Vibrant Nightlife. Retrieved from https://www.newdemocracy.com.au/2013/09/17/city-of-sydney-safe-vibrant-nightlife/
Submissions and presentations made to the jury:
Thomas Kelly Foundation:
Opinion piece by newDemocracy founder: Sydney lockout: A groundswell of opinion isn't the considered view of the silent majority