«Chapter 2: Federalism, Regionalism and the Reshaping of Australian Governance A. J. Brown Introduction For at least a generation, Australia has been ...»
On a positive note, the fifth and final lesson from this background is that the 21st century political landscape does appear to hold improved prospects for a productive approach – including a heightened capacity to make more informed short-term choices. There is little complacency about current arrangements, at any level of government. Instead there is widespread consensus that it is worth considering almost anything, if it can help contribute to more effective, responsive, adaptive and efficient governance. Many of the ideologies that dichotomised political debate over the size, role and structure of government in the 20th century have disappeared. So too have the more parochial ‘states’ rights’ perspectives that once helped ensure that any constitutional debate was likely to degenerate immediately into a federal-state stand-off – it is difficult to imagine a state premier ever again telling Japanese hosts that he is ‘not from Australia, but from Queensland’, as Joh Bjelke-Petersen is once reputed to have done. On questions of regional institution-building, the destructive ideological deadlock of the Cold War era has long since receded, in which social progressives tended to fear new state ideas as an agenda of rural fascists, and conservatives opposed alternative regional or provincial bodies as some kind of centralised, urban Communist plot.
Instead, we have an environment in which all political parties tend to have equally minimalist commitments to any kind of constitutional development, and the focus is a pragmatic one, on simply making the existing system of government work better. While this scarcely sounds visionary, when the unproductive nature of past debates over regional devolution are considered, this new ‘year zero’ of thinking about federalism is, in fact, a safe place to start. If we get the next phase of federal reform wrong – for example, if the under-capacity of local and regional governance are not addressed, and ‘subsidiarity’ principles remain simply a rhetorical device in the tussles between national and state governments – then history is likely to lead us back to where we already are or have been. If we get it right, and find new ways to develop the practical machinery of federalism to recognise, empower and utilise local and regional action, we will not only have achieved a theoretical resolution of the relationship between federalism and regionalism in Australia; we will also have moved towards more durable solutions to some of the pressing policy challenges and problems set out in this book, in which we already know local and regional action to be vital.
Whether strong or weak, transient or a symptom of something longer term, regionalism is alive and well in Australia today, and it matters in both political Federalism and Regionalism in Australia and public policy terms. As new national approaches unfold in most major policy areas, more and more we recognise these are unlikely to work without also growing the capacity of local and regional governance.
This chapter concludes with a picture from the cover of The New State Magazine of 1922 (Figure 2.5). This is not because the option of new state governments represents a solution to everything, but because the image helps reinforce the depth of our own historical capacity to think about these issues. While the map shows an alternative political structure for Australia, the magazine as a whole carries the motto ‘For a Bigger Australia’. It may be that it is not actually practical to create a bigger Australia, but the reform of federalism is certainly motivated by a vision of a better Australia, and this remains the outcome we should expect from more informed, research-based policy and political discussion about the development of our institutions in the long term.
For A Bigger Australia Source: Thompson (1922) Federalism and Regionalism in Australia References ABS 2006, Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), Canberra, Australian Bureau of Statistics Release 1216.0 - 2006, July 2006.
Beer, S. H. 1993, To Make A Nation: The Rediscovery of American Federalism.
Harvard University Press.
Bellamy, J., T. Meppem, et al. 2003, ‘The changing face of regional governance for economic development: implications for local government’ Sustaining Regions 2(3): 7-17.
Brown, A. J. 2002, ‘Subsidiarity or subterfuge? Resolving the future of local government in the Australian federal system’ Australian Journal of Public Administration 61(4): 24-42.
——— 2003, The Frozen Continent: the Fall and Rise of Territory in Australian Constitutional Thought 1815-2003, PhD Thesis, Griffith University.
——— 2004a, ‘One Continent, Two Federalisms: Rediscovering the Original Meanings of Australian Federal Political Ideas’, Australian Journal of Political Science 39(4): 485-504.
——— 2004b, ‘Constitutional Schizophrenia Then and Now: Exploring federalist, regionalist and unitary strands in the Australian political tradition’, in
K. Walsh (ed.), The Distinctive Foundations of Australian Democracy:
Lectures in the Senate Occasional Lecture Series 2003-2004 Papers on Parliament No. 42, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.
——— 2005, ‘Regional Governance and Regionalism in Australia’ in Eversole, R. and Martin, J. (eds), Participation and Governance in Regional Development: Global Trends in an Australian Context, Ashgate, Aldershot UK.
——— 2006, ‘The Constitution We Were Meant to Have: Re-examining the strength and origins of Australia’s unitary political traditions’, in K.
Walsh (ed.) Democratic Experiments: Lectures in the Senate Occasional Lecture Series, Department of the Senate, Canberra.
Brown, A. J. and M. Drummond, 2001, ‘Did Federation give us too many politicians?’, The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 31 March 2001: 30.
Brunckhorst, D. J. and I. Reeve, 2006, ‘Lines on Maps: Defining Resource Governance Regions from the ‘Bottom-Up’’, Refereed paper to Australasian Political Studies Association Conference, University of Newcastle, 25 September 2006.
Business Council of Australia 2006, Reshaping Australia’s Federation: A New Contract for Federal-State Relations, Melbourne.
Federalism, Regionalism and the Reshaping of Australian Governance
Craven, G. 2005, ‘The New Centralism and the Collapse of the Conservative Constitution’, Senate Occasional Lecture, Department of the Senate, Canberra, 14 October 2005.
——— 2006, ‘Are We All Centralists Now?’, Address to Gilbert and Tobin Centre Constitutional Law Conference, Sydney, 24 February 2006.
DEH 2000, Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia, Version 5.1, Canberra, Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.
DEH 2004, Natural Resource Management Regions. Canberra, Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage, June 2004.
DOTARS 2005, National Network of Area Consultative Committees’ Report to the Community 2004–05. Canberra, Commonweath Department of Transport and Regional Services.
DOTARS 2007, Area Consultative Committees (ACC) Boundary Review. Canberra, Commonweath Department of Transport and Regional Services. Accessible at http://www.acc.gov.au/boundary.aspx.
Ford, R. T. 2001, ‘Law's Territory (A History of Jurisdiction)’, in N. Blomley, D.
Delaney and R. T. Ford (eds), The Legal Geographies Reader: Law, Power and Space, Blackwell, Oxford, pp.200-217.
Galligan, B. (ed.) 1986, Australian State Politics, Longman Cheshire, Melbourne.
——— 1995, A federal republic: Australia’s constitutional system of government.
Cambridge University Press.
Gillespie, J. 1994, ‘New federalisms’ in J. Brett, J. Gillespie and M. Goot (eds) Developments in Australian Politics, MacMillan Education Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, pp.60-87.
Gray, I. 2004, ‘What is Regionalism?’, in W. Hudson and A. J. Brown (eds), Restructuring Australia: Regionalism, Republicanism and Reform of the Nation-State, Federation Press, Sydney.
Ha 1997, High Court of Australia, 'Ha and Anor v New South Wales', Commonwealth Law Reports Volume 189, p.465.
Hollander, R. and H. Patapan, 2007, ‘Pragmatic Federalism: Australian Federalism from Hawke to Howard’, Australian Journal of Political Science 42(2), forthcoming.
Holmes, J. and C. Sharman 1977, The Australian Federal System, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
McMullan, B. 2007, ‘Reforming the Federation: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity’, Speech to Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Roundtable on Federalism, Canberra, 18 May 2007.
Federalism and Regionalism in Australia
Parkes, H. 1890, The Federal Government of Australasia: Speeches. Turner and Henderson, Sydney.
——— 1892, Fifty Years in the Making of Australian History. Longmans Green and Company, London.
Parkin, A. and G. Anderson, 2007, ‘The Howard Government, Regulatory Federalism and the Transformation of Commonwealth-State Relations’, Australian Journal of Political Science 42(2), forthcoming.
Saunders, C. 2000, Parliament as Partner: A Century of Constitutional Review.
Commonwealth Department of the Parliamentary Library.
——— 2001, ‘Dividing Power in a Federation in an Age of Globalisation’, in C.
Sampford and T. Round (eds), Beyond the Republic: Meeting the Global Challenges to Constitutionalism. Federation Press, Sydney, pp.129-145.
Sawer, G. 1967. Australian Federalism in the Courts. Carlton: Melbourne University Press.
Thompson, V. (ed.) (1922), New State Magazine, vol. 1, no. 6. Mitchell Library, Sydney.
Twomey, A. and G. Withers, 2007, Australia’s Federal Future: Delivering Growth and Prosperity, Federalist Paper 1, Council for the Australian Federation.
Walker, E. R. 1947, The Australian Economy in War and Reconstruction, Oxford University Press, New York.
Weller, P. 2000, ‘Introduction: in search of governance’, in G. Davis and M.
Keating (eds), The Future of Governance: Policy Choices, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
Wilkins, R. 1995, ‘Federalism and Regulatory Reform’, in P. Carroll and M.
Painter (eds), Microeconomic Reform and Federalism, Federalism Research Centre, The Australian National University, Canberra, pp.216-222.
WorkChoices 2006, High Court of Australia, ‘NSW v Commonwealth’ Australian