By John Wanna
This selection of ‘critical reflections’ on Australian public coverage deals a precious contribution to public dialogue of significant political and coverage matters dealing with our country and society. those essays are vital not just end result of the popularity and place of many of the individuals, yet simply because they're exceptionally ‘content wealthy’ and brimming with new principles.
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Almost 80 per cent of respondents agreed that the Commonwealth should intervene in cases where state governments had not resolved important issues. And yet, over half of those surveyed also agreed with the principle of subsidiarity, that decision-making power should be devolved to the lowest competent level of government. Clearly, the ways people view their relationships with governments are diverse and complex. While some Australians did support wholesale abolition of one or more levels of government, almost one-third supported the addition of a new regional level.
We can harness these strengths to deliver enhanced economic and social outcomes for Australia. So I don’t intend to propose a radical solution, of either diminishing or substantially enlarging the powers of one or another constitutional actor. Of course, the lawyers among you might first think of constitutional reform as the key to transforming Commonwealth–state relations for the better. That is certainly a conversation worth having. As the Special Minister of State remarked in his speech for Constitution Day celebrations in July 2008, there was a strong case for updating what he described as the ‘stump-jump plough’ of constitutions.
We need a bold approach to reform. And to achieve such reform, we need a new way of governing—in particular, increased cooperation between federal, state and local governments, businesses and community organisations. A renewed belief in the possibility of reform was apparent at the 3 July 2008 COAG meeting. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the goals of the COAG reform agenda to address the challenges of: • • • boosting productivity increasing workforce participation and mobility delivering better services for the community.
Critical Reflections on Australian Public Policy: Selected Essays by John Wanna