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CoAG's reform agenda: politics rules? « Previous | |Next »
April 10, 2007

Next Friday's Council of Australian Governments meeting represents a historic opportunity to embrace far-reaching reform, which the Productivity Commission estimates will deliver tens of billions of dollars in economic dividends.The Labor states and territories have outlined their ambitious reform agenda after months of negotiations and, critically, it locks the eight state and territory jurisdictions into a national approach on a range of important issues to lift productivity and work-force participation through a series of reforms involving competition, regulation and human capital.

The plan tackles what the states argue are the big challenges facing Australia, and it builds on a "third wave" of reform outlined by Victorian Premier Steve Bracks in August 2005, that is designed to increase competition, remove red tape and improve health and education outcomes. The states, in delivering a comprehensive program of reform to Howard, have explicitly rejected Peter Costello's suggestion that the states are heading down the road of becoming merely service delivery vehicles, leaving the leadership on reform - and the national economy - to the commonwealth.

I'm not sure about the politics of CoAG. Howard and Costello are under pressure with respect to reform and CoAG is the Labor States versus the Coalition commonwealth. No doubt Howard and Costello will resist sharing the distribution of the economic benefits of reform with the states. Will they resist reform? Will they act as spoilers? It is an election year after all, with the federal Labor opposition dominating in the polls.

So far there has been no agreement on the funding formula. The traditional formula of a 50-50 split is running into resistance, as the Commonwealth is swimming in money, while the states' revenue base, even with the GST, is barely keeping up with growth in the economy.The states want an independent, objective umpire to work out an agreed formula.

Presumably, Treasury would support the reform process as it understands that it is crucial to boosting productivity and workforce participation by an ageing population. Will it be able to persuade Canberra to sign off? Or will politics overrule economics once again? Costello is trying to pick a fight with the states over a national ports plan, by arguing for a national regulator rather than common national regulations.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:04 AM | | Comments (2)


As I view it CoAG has no position within the framework of the Constitution, and unless this is appropriately considered you will ignore what is relevant.

My latest book published on 28 march 2007 set out some of it.

INSPECTOR-RIKATI® & How to lawfully avoid voting
A book about Australia’s federal election issues & rights
ISBN 978-0-9751760-3-0 was ISBN 0-9751760-3-X (Book)
ISBN 978-0-9751760-4-7 was ISBN 0-9751760-4-8 (CD)
ISBN 978-0-9751760-9-2 (Book-Colour)

Next month I am due to publish;

INSPECTOR-RIKATI® on IR WorkChoices legislation
A book about the validity of the High Courts 14-11-2006 decision
ISBN 978-0-9751760-6-1 (Book on CD) ISBN 978-0-9751760-7-8 (Book B&W) ISBN 978-0-9751760-8-5 (Book-Colour)

This book will set out why the High Court of Australia erred in constitutional application and also how the Commonwealth of Australia and the states failed to appropriately litigate relevant issues.

It should be understood that while CoAG may seek co-operation among the States it is a different matter where it seeks to transfer legislative powers from the States to the Commonwealth of Australia.

The High Court of Australia somehow already seemed to approve the purported substitute Australia Act 1986 constitution regardless that this alter a constitutional Parliament into a parliament that is above the Constitution. Where the ownership of the Constitution has been robbed of the people and handed to the Parliament.

Whatever may be deemed to be economical better in a contemporary way, must never be permitted to result to ignore constitutional provisions and limitations, as to do so is to abandon the constitution and turning a democracy into a dictatorship.

See also my website and my blog;

federalism is enshrined in the constitution---and that means some sort of relationship between the states and the commonwealth.

CoAG, as I understand it is a co-operative kind of relationship that is mutually acceptable. I do not see that cooperative about reforming the economy abandoning the constitution and turning a democracy into a dictatorship.

How do you see CoAG doing that?