Citizens Juries. Impact on Film.

March 11, 2015 Lara Damiani Blog, News

I was fortunate to spend four days in February filming the Citizen’s Jury for People with Disability Australia (PWDA) held in Sydney and facilitated by Max Hardy Consulting. This Citizens Jury was held to deliberate on the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Probably one of the most memorable legacies of the Gillard Government.  Working with me as second camera unit and photographer was Claudio Raschella and as sound location engineer, Sasha Zastankovic.

The Citizen’s Jury process is similar to a criminal jury where randomly selected jurors are called to listen to evidence and to deliberate on a matter – in this case the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The jurors were given a ‘charge’  consisting of 8 themes upon which they focused and, at the end, provided their final recommendations.  Interestingly, it seems this may be the first time a Citizen’s Jury has taken place in Australia where not only the jurors, but the expert witnesses, were randomly selected. The process included live testimony presented by expert witnesses from around Australia both in person and via video conferencing, questions and deliberations. Watching the jury facilitators was amazing. I couldn’t help the visions of “12 Angry Men” (that wonderful film with Henry Fonda) from occupying my mind and I kept thinking how incredibly skilled one needs to be to facilitate random strangers and guide them into a conclusion within a short space of time. Amazing work.

Congratulations to People With Disability Australia for taking the initiative to host this Citizens Jury and also the the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). It’s not often that a federal government agency subjects itself to scrutiny by the very people it has been set up to provide service to. A bold and brave move and one I think will really pay off once the final report and documentary film have been provided to the NDIA and government ministers and officials for consideration. As Max Hardy said, citizen’s juries are a great way to “strengthen the relationship between the government and its citizens”.

The documentary film, which I’m currently editing, will showcase the emotion, the excitement, the engagement and the process of the Citizen’s Jury and will complement the report and recommendations on the NDIS that will be provided by PWDA to the NDIA and a host of government ministers and representatives.

Some pics taken from the footage shot over the 4 days:

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Filming the event

 

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Max Hardy with one of the expert witnesses, Simone Stevens

 

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Jurors listen to evidence provided via video conferencing