Parra Youth Matters   University of Sydney DIMIA You Me Us - Living in Harmony Council for Multicultural Australia
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the project team

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It all started way back at the beginning of 2002, when a class of second and third year university students enrolled in a Government class at the University of Sydney on consultation and deliberative democracy run by Dr Lyn Carson. As part of the class we formed our own Citizens' Jury, taking on various roles including juror and facilitator. This experience had such an effect on us that when Dr Carson suggested that we could run a jury of our own, with young people, we jumped at the idea, a project team was formed and a project titled "Parra Youth Matters" began. While we have very different interests, backgrounds, cultures and ambitions we are united by our sincere belief in the importance of democracy and the positive impacts that deliberation can have on people and their communities.

Please read below to find out more about us individually:

Dr Lyn Carson

Dr Carson joined the discipline in 1999. Her research interest is in public participation in government decision making. Her recent book (with Brian Martin) Random Selection in Politics, explores innovative consultative mechanisms, some of which have been trialed by Dr Carson in Australia.

As a former elected representative in local government, Dr Carson has a particular interest in this sphere. She has written widely on community consultation and has been involved with the design, management or implementation of consensus conferences, citizens' juries, televotes and deliberative polls.


Samantha Allen

Samantha is entering her Honours year in Government and International Relations, as part of her Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences) degree. Samantha has been tutoring Primary and High school students since 1999, within her community. Through her role within the University of Sydney Union, she also worked in the development and presentation of career seminars for several groups of year ten students in 2001. Lastly she was actively involved in the development of the "International Youth Parliament", as established by Oxfam Community Aid Abroad from 1999 - 2000.


James Cullen

James is currently entering his Honours year in Government and International Relations, in a Bachelor of Economics (Social Science) Degree at the University of Sydney. James has undergone substantial work experience with the Public Relations Office of Parramatta Council (1998) and has been involved in youth activities in the Parramatta area, such as the Parramatta Youth Council (1999). Lastly, James is co-founder and Treasurer of Polisoc (Government Students Society) and consequently, grappling with the implementation of a more inclusive consultative mechanism for student involvement in social and public events.


Rebecca Hicks

Rebecca is currently in her fourth year of an Economics/Law degree at the University of Sydney. She is interested in policy development and public education and is completing her major in Government & International Relations and Economics. Rebecca teaches dancing once a week to kids between the ages of 2 and 10 years old. She also volunteers at the National Children's and Youth Legal Centre.


Frances Phillips

Frances is entering her Honours year, at the University of Sydney as part of a Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences), where she majored Government and International Relations and Political Economy. She is completing her Honours in Government in 2003.


Christopher Sargant

Christopher is studying a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Sydney, majoring in Government and International Affairs and Asian Studies. In his fourth year he will complete his Honours which will focus on deliberative processes in Australia as well as throughout the world. He has worked with young people in a diverse range of fields including youth care and teaching drama.


Marc Tutaan

Marc studied psychology at the University of Sydney. His experience with young people include tutoring, volunteering at the International Youth Parliament and being a delegate to the 2001 Youth Summit associated with the United Nations World Conference against Racism.


Lorien Vecellio

Lorien has just finished his Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Sydney. He studied Government and International Relations, Philosophy and Psychology. He worked as a facilitator in the citizens Jury run by the class in 2002 and hopes that by working on the project, he will help young people think and talk more about issues (and be heard!). Lorien has also worked as a tutor, with young people.


Maria Zuza

Maria is an education student at the University of Sydney. She has established a voluntary tutoring program at an inner city school and is active in making sure that youth affairs are dealt with fairly and in accordance with basic human rights.