Abbott, Pragmatic Nationalist, Proposes Modest Reform Of Federation

Describing himself as a “pragmatic nationalist”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he believes it is worth another try to “harmonise” the revenue and spending responsibilities of the States and the Commonwealth.

ParkesAbbott spoke at the Sir Henry Parkes Commemorative Dinner in Tenterfield, NSW. On October 24 1889, Parkes, a five-time premier of NSW, delivered his famous Tenterfield Oration, a call for the colonies to federate.

Abbott said: “Now I remain a pragmatic nationalist – but the states exist, they have wide powers under the constitution and they can’t be abolished; so – rather than pursue giving the Commonwealth more authority over the states, as I proposed in my 2009 book, Battlelines – better harmonising revenue and spending responsibilities is well worth another try.”

Abbott said he used to think that “the states should become subordinate legislatures to the Commonwealth”, but he now doubted that “any such constitutional change could succeed”. He said: “…in any event, it’s a good principle to propose the smallest change that will actually tackle the problem – that’s why resolving the mismatch between what the states are supposed to deliver and what they can actually afford to pay for is worth another go.” [Read more…]


COAG Agreement On Indigenous Truancy And One-Stop Shops For Projects

The first meeting of the Council of Australian Governments since the election of the Abbott government has taken place in Canberra today.

COAG agreed to tackled indigenous truancy and to cut “green tape” by implementing “one stop shops”.

COAG

State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers also agreed to sign on to the government’s paid parental scheme.

The meeting also agreed to examine ways to fast-track infrastructure projects.

Speaking at a joint press conference, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said COAG had felt like a “meeting of equals”. He described himself as a “pragmatic federalist” who wanted the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments to get on with dealing with issues in their own jurisdictions. [Read more…]


Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings At The National Press Club

Tasmania’s Labor Premier, Lara Giddings, has addressed the National Press Club in Canberra.

Giddings spoke at length about the state of Tasmania’s economy. She defended her state’s share of the proceeds of the Goods and Services Tax, praised the National Broadband Network and talked of Tasmania’s place in the Asian Century. [Read more…]


BCA Booklet: Reshaping Australia’s Federation

The Business Council of Australia has issued a study of Australia’s Federation and proposed a 12-point plan of action.

The BCA represents the Chief Executives of 100 of Australia’s “leading”, or largest, companies. [Read more…]


Federal Links With Local Government Will Grow: Howard

There are “growing opportunities for direct co-operation between the Federal Government and local government”, according to the Prime Minister, John Howard.

Addressing the Australian Local Government Association, Howard reiterated his view that “my philosophy and the philosophy of the Government is very much that we’re not going to be hidebound by a particular model or a particular framework of relationship between another level of government, but rather as we demonstrated in the attitude we took to our programme of providing funding for local roads that if the better outcome, the more efficient outcome, the more economic outcome was to deal directly with local government and to bypass state governments we would be willing to do so.” [Read more…]