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Case study

In February of 2001, Australia hosted its second national Deliberative Poll titled, Australia deliberates: reconciliation-where from here? As a social experiment, this Australian Deliberative Poll aimed to gauge the opinion of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous representatives on reconciliation.

Australian reconciliation is a national cause in search of attaining cultural harmony and equality amongst its Aboriginal and Non-Indigenous communities. This paper is a case study of the 2001 Australian Deliberative Poll.

The goal of this analysis is to answer the following questions:

  • Can deliberation change political attitudes historically rooted within ethnocentric social paradigms?
  • Does it matter who is present in the room during deliberation?
  • In other words, must certain individuals be present in order to affect the way attitudes are shaped and modified?

The results of this study confirm that deliberation can and does change the political attitudes of individuals even when the issues being discussed are sensitive to social prejudice. The data also supports the notion that representation does matter in deliberation, especially if the public policy decisions being discussed directly affect members of historically disadvantaged groups.

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