Reading Wanna, J 2007, Improving Federalism: Drivers of Change, Repair Options and Reform Scenarios, The Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 66, no. 3, pp 275-279. Purpose The author aims to inform the readers of the impediments and declining condition of the current system of Australian Federalism, he provides evidence for the need to change and provides reforms on how to make governance work better to provide improved policy outcomes for the Australian community. Argument/Finding
The author emphasized the separate but often blurred responsibilities between the three levels of government. The mistrust, competition for policy space, and uncoordinated resources between the governments, as wasteful and damaging to the delivery of vital services – water, [climate change], infrastructure and [congestion] – climate change and congestion are not ‘vital services’ but problems to be addressed by the government. Need for greater clarity of government functions, roles and responsibilities was highlighted.
The need for the Commonwealth and the states to agree on the parameters of their separate roles in order to reduce the duplicate administrative structures that had arisen between the two governments. Federalism was in decline internationally due to markets becoming more national and global. Local or regional identity was diminishing due to technological advancements in communications and media. Renew review of micro-economic agendas and cooperation between Commonwealth and states in the rationalisation of regulations and uniformity of standards and regulations to resolve globalisation issues to a degree.
To ensure that the states either have the capacity to raise their own funds, or receive a sufficient share of overall tax revenue, to allow them to fulfil their responsibilities. The conclusion was a consensus that greater levels of trust would be needed to make federalism work better and provide enhanced policy outcomes for the Australian community. Evidence Abolishing Federalism or moving to a unitary Government is not the [answer to globalisation? ]. In fact there is growing evidence that Federalism is better in tackling globalisation issues. For example, governments around the world ave responded to the pressures of globalisation by introducing subsidiarity to obtain the economic advantages of globalisation, while at the same time decentralising power and conferring greater functions and responsibilities on sub-national states and regions. Agreements about shared responsibilities, enhancing central coordinating bodies like the COAG, joint ministerial councils will help enhance policy processes to produce better alignment of policies and administrative activities between the Commonwealth and the states. 276 276 Observations
The reading is a summary of comments, opinions and discussions that occurred during the roundtable forum attended by around 50 participants comprising of politicians, Commonwealth and state public servants and academics regarding the effectiveness of the current Australian federalism and how this affects government activities and policy agenda. The article was not used by the author to express his opinion. The author through the piece, based on the roundtable discussion, was able to impart to the readers that the issue was not between whether Australia remains federal or not.
The issue is between whether Australia has a working federal system, capable of delivering the benefits of federalism, or just a facade of Commonwealth’s desire to centralise power. A working federal system, with healthy and accountable democratic institutions at all levels of government, is likely to be a greater asset in dealing with complex governmental problems in the longer run. Participants in the roundtable forum suggested ways in which this might be achieved. Other relevant or related readings Twomey, A 2007, Australian Federalism – Options for Reform, viewed 28 May 2010, .
The paper highlights that if the federalism operates well, it is more economically efficient than unitary structures of government. Patience, A 2004, Australian Federalism in a Globalizing World, viewed 24 May 2010, . The reading suggests that Australians are turning away from politics because the Australian federal system processes have become technocratic and exclusive. Wiltshire, K 2008, Australian Federalism: The Business Perspective, viewed 15 May 2010, . The paper explores the interaction between Australian business community with the functions of federalism. Word Count: 553