When: In Session Wednesday 19th February, 11:00am–12:50pm
Inherent in deliberative democracy is the possibility of individuals changing their position on an issue in response to persuasive communication.
This is a case study of how a person in a position of power changed their mind about climate change in response to deliberations, then used their position to put on record their thought processes in changing mind.
The record of a speech from South Australian Parliament documented the politician’s thought processes before and after the change. This in turn generated further dialogue in public and private spheres. This political communication indicated that the deliberative quality of a panel discussion among scientists made the reality of climate change compelling for someone who was until then a climate sceptic. The range of arguments and scientific evidence presented by the panel of diverse scientists within the consensus of climate change persuaded the politician. Following the speech,more detail about the circumstances that led to change emerged through civil communications among citizens, scientists, media and political actors.Some of this dialogue happened face-to-face and some in social media, which was unusually positive.
This paper sheds further light on the circumstances and dialogues that led an elected representative to publicly state they had been wrong about climate change, acknowledging for the first time the need for action. Further public dialogue in response, such as deliberations about causes and the need for more such stories of change, are included with the explicit intention of this paper being a form of participatory action research (Stokols 2006). The authors were embedded in these events and dialogues and intend this artefact of documentation and reflection to support further iterative deliberations about responding to climate change.
Cobi Calyx, Research Fellow in Science Communication, Centre for Social Impact, UNSW Sydney
Jenny Low, SA MLC John Darley’s Office