Participatory democracy/People Decide

Participatory Democracy Government


Jnana developed and provided expertise and advice to People Decide (PD),, a project and campaign to form a participatory democracy government. People Decide's model is mix of representative, deliberative and direct democracy. The aim is to form a more representative, effective, stable and efficient form of government. Its platform is based on open-source software.

Jnana developed the PD structure, participatory democracy model, IT voting platform and election campaigns all of which have gone through many evolutions.

The participatory democracy model

The participatory democracy has transformed to a process involving MPs, Senators and Councillors contracted to vote with the majority of the people in their electorate on at least single issue Bills and decisions in Parliament and Council. People must read a summary of a Bill or decision developed by the people before they vote and have six weeks to consider it to ensure an informed vote.

How it works

Plan table

See the People Decide faq.

The development of the summaries is currently under testing.

The voting platform

The IT voting platform is at version 3.0. It now automatically verifies voters and draws all Federal, State legislation and Local Government Impact Assessment Developments into the system.

People Decide voting system example

People Decide voting system example

The code is open source with additional terms and conditions, see the eserai license. The code is on GitHub.

Karel Boele, Director Jnana, was the main candidate for People Decide.

People Decide review

In 2017 after five elections in the South Brisbane area. The PD vote kept increasing until the last. It was the first election PD gave it a go, door-knocking in the electorate had covered the majority of it, PD spent some money, the model was refined and the campaign more professional. The vote should have at least increased marginally, however, it did not.

The reasons for this:

  • Labor and The Greens were very aggressively fighting each other pouring and bringing resources into the electorate, for example, The Greens door-knocked some houses 4 times in the month before the election flying in volunteers from around Australia and Karel only managed the majority once in the 4 years leading up to the election. They would tell voters they needed a '1' or big problems would arise so PD got '2's' intead of '1's'; 
  • PD had limited resources. The strategy was to focus on one area and slowly increase the vote. This meant we needed to concentrate resources in one area. There was a small amount of disagreement within the team related to this causing resources to be diverted to areas we had not focused our campaign on;
  • Australia Post lost the leaflets we paid for to be delivered to the electorate. They gave us a part refund;
  • Many PD team members were not available during the election, for example, we only managed to have a volunteer at 2.5 polling booths, in addition there was another independent candidate handing out "Sick of politics" how-to-vote cards who people thought was Karel who had volunteers at all polling booths for most of the day; and
  • Maybe there were some behind the scenes reasons we do not know.


This caused a significant review of PD. The decision was made to take PD offline. It may pop-up at any time, new and revised, in a different area, new team/collaboration/partnerships and/or different/changes for candidates.

** Please be careful of other participatory democracy platforms that are complex, allow the voter to pass on their responsibility, unorganised, not well thought-out and have self-interest. It needs to be pure, simple, well thought-out (no corners left untouched), makes voter the only one responsible for their vote and one-step-at-time. 

Participatory democracy speaking tour

Karel Boele and Tim Jenkin travelled Australia in May 2015 on a speaking tour about complementary currencies and participatory democracy.

Engagements included both paid and in-kind presentations and audiences included governments, corporations and not-for-profits, and interviews with media.

See more about the tour here.

Other work in political development

See Jnana's other work in political development.

Jnana is a Certified NationBuilder developer.


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