The political pressure on Prime Minister Julia Gillard stepped up a notch today as the four coalition premiers refused to sign up to a trial of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
A meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) fractured with the announcement of three trial sites in the Labor-held jurisdictions of South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.
The Coalition premiers from New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia all refused accept the federal government’s terms for participation in the trial.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell argued that the Commonwealth should fund the whole scheme, whilst Gillard said that $70 million from NSW and $30 million from Victoria would have ensured trial sites in those states.
The political decision of the non-Labor premiers highlights the sense of impermanence that now pervades decisions of the Gillard government.
Criticism of the state coalition governments began immediately after the announcement. Following the parliamentary impasse over asylum seekers, this decision is likely to increase public cynicism and disillusionment about the political process and the hung parliament.
- Listen to the COAG leaders’ press conference (46m)