Articles by Jim Buckell

Jim Buckell is a facilitator, writer and editor who believes consensus and collaborative practice are defining elements of the Greens. He worked for many years as a journalist in the mainstream media, including The Australian, the SMH and ABC radio and helped indigenous broadcasters to establish CAAMA and Imparja in Central Australia. He now works as a facilitator and trainer with the Melbourne-based Groupwork Institute.

The Trouble With Consensus Is … We Don’t Do It Enough

Co-founder of the Victorian Greens Facilitators Network, Jim Buckell, responds to Sarah Maddison

In her interview with Clare Ozich in Green Agenda, Sarah Maddison puts consensus decision making under the spotlight. In doing so, she perpetuates some common myths: it’s too slow; makes for bad decisions; marginalises dissent. Then she advances a new one (to me anyway): it can apparently be impossibly difficult to review or overturn an old consensus decision.

I’m certain these pitfalls are not systemic. They don’t arise because consensus is a flawed concept. These myths take hold because so few of us see consensus practised well, including Sarah Maddison I suspect. Groups take all manner of shortcuts or press to a vote because of time constraints. Continue reading →