Presentation on theme: "New Approaches, New Institutions? A National Symposium Federalism & Regionalism in Australia."— Presentation transcript:
New Approaches, New Institutions? A National Symposium Federalism & Regionalism in Australia
Session 1: Legitimacy of Federal & Regional Institutions Session 2: Effectiveness Regional Drivers for Governance Reform Session 3: Efficiency and Economy In Federal and Regional Governance Session 4: Outcomes & Actions Priorities for Research and Reform Drinks & Launch ‘Reform of Australia’s federal system: identifying the benefits’ A discussion paper – NSW Farmers Association
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia The beginning & end… Institutional reform and restructuring is needed for Australian federal governance – including state, regional and local governance – to become adequately legitimate, effective and efficient in the medium- to long-term. What is ‘adequacy’? What types of reform? What sequencing, or path of reform? What research is needed to inform that path?
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia Session 1: Legitimacy of Federal & Regional Institutions Dr A J Brown - The Federalism Project, Griffith University Federalism and regionalism in Australian political life Assoc Professor Ian Gray - Centre for Rural Social Research, Charles Sturt University The political viability of federal reform: a sociological analysis Mal Peters - Immediate Past President, NSW Farmers’ Association Towards a wider debate on federal & regional governance
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia Federalism & Regionalism in Australian political life Dr A J Brown The Federalism Project, Griffith University www.griffith.edu.au/federalism
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia Federalism & regionalism are fundamentally intertwined in the theory & practice of governance Federalism: “… a system of government in which authority is constitutionally divided between central and regional governments.” James Gillespie, "New federalisms" in Developments in Australian Politics, J. Brett, J. Gillespie & M. Goot (eds) (1994), pp.60-87; Blackshield & Williams (2004), p.241. Five key facts about the place of regionalism in Australian federalism Five key lessons from constitutional & political theory & practice, for 21 st century reform & restructuring
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 1. Australian federalism is unusually centralised – both financially, & politically
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 2. Australian federalism has been historically over-dependent on institutions with weak (e.g. indirect) political legitimacy Bureacracy Commissions & statutory authorities ‘Quangos’ & NGOs ‘Regionalisation’ rather than recognising ‘regionalism’
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 3. Australian federalism would be institutionally different if federal founders’ beliefs had come to pass Federation – revival of British colonial subdivision principle, in form of US-style ‘new state’ movements Benjamin Franklin (1754): ‘commonwealth for increase’ Henry Parkes (1890): ‘commonwealth… great and growing’.
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 6 5 4 3 2 1 10 9 8 7 11 12 13 24 20 2221 18 25 15 23 16 17 19 14 Louisiana Purchase (France) 1803 Spanish Treaty 1819 Atlantic Ocean Shadings show the territory claimed by each colony at 1776 (now 13 original plus 12 new states). Bold borders show 13 Original United States as they exist today. How 13 Original U.S. Colonies are now 25 states (plus 25 more from federal acquisition of territory) Article 4, U.S. Constitution 1787 – Chapter 6, Australian Constitution 1901.
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 4. Australian federalism would be institutionally different given a better culture of constitutional bipartisanship 1920s – how to fix federalism? Peden Commission. ALP & Country Party ‘new state’ reforms; Popular, pro-British & ALP ‘unification’.
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia Australian new state movements (Prescott 1987)
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 4. Australian federalism would be institutionally different given a better culture of constitutional bipartisanship 1920s – how to fix federalism? Peden Commission. ALP & Country Party ‘new state’ reforms; Popular, pro-British & ALP ‘unification’. 1950s – constitutional review committee. 1970s – regional policy vs. states’ rights. 1990s – well… look at the republic….
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 5. Australian federalism is not static, not a ‘frozen continent’ – enormous past and current change in spatial dynamics Growth in federal power, influence, financial control Growth in local government… new reforms (IGCS) Regional governance… esp. sustainability Already an emerging ‘fourth tier’? New intergovernmental collaboration States dealing others in, themselves out?
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia Key lessons 1. The 21 st century political landscape looks different for institutional reform No ‘rural fascists’ versus ‘urban communists’ No major political party constitutional platforms Bipartisanship on ‘new regionalism’ (however weak) States fully engaged in reform processes No more Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersens New ‘year zero’, capacity for thought-out reform.
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 2. We must continue to recognise we have under-valued ‘general purpose’ government at local & regional levels, as a governance strategy Not much scope for real change unless we continue to more comprehensively revisit role and place of local government, relationship between local government and new regional institutions… etc etc.
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 3. Newer policy focus on ‘governance not government’ leaves Australia in a unique and difficult position When you have no robust local/regional governments, withdrawal of government (or delegation by government to business / community) from social and economic intervention leaves… what? Limited programs with: - Questionable resources & efficiency - Questionable policy capacity & effectiveness - Questionable political legitimacy.
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 4. We need to better align short, medium and long-term ideas about reform Constitutional change requires consensus, and consensus will only follow an emerging proven reality. But constitutional theory & ultimately change is important when rebuilding & restructuring major policy areas, and dealing in & with ‘general purpose’ governments… see I.R. Are short-term, informal, collaboration responses really likely to obviate the need for longer-term structural change… or do they in fact increase it?
Federalism & Regionalism in Australia 5. We can and should turn current unproductive debates (‘whinges’) about federalism into more productive ones For the sake of: -- Political attitudes/legitimacy – community cohesion, trust, engagement, effort; -- Sustainability - policy capacity and effectiveness; -- Efficiency, economy, competitiveness, productivity. Based on quality information, evaluation, deliberation.