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Analysis and Comment (28)

Does COAG help the Prime Minister and the Premiers collaborate - or create a platform for empty grandstanding? Does COAG help the Prime Minister and the Premiers collaborate - or create a platform for empty grandstanding? Alan Porritt/AAP

Why we need clear rules between the states and Commonwealth

The reform of Australia’s federation is under review. In this special series, we ask leading Australian academics to begin a debate on renewing federalism, from tax reform to the broader issues of democracy…
An unintended consequence of competitive federalism has led states to abandon high benefit-cost ratio projects for inferior ones. An unintended consequence of competitive federalism has led states to abandon high benefit-cost ratio projects for inferior ones. AAP/Alan Porritt

Beggar bowl politics blocks Federation’s potential

Calls to lift the GST rate to placate the states financial challenges will serve to only exacerbate an already severe vertical fiscal imbalance and prolong a deeply unsatisfactory chapter in Australia’s…
Abandoning health reforms will undoubtedly lead to worse performance, including longer waiting times, across the health system. Abandoning health reforms will undoubtedly lead to worse performance, including longer waiting times, across the health system. AAP Image/Quentin Jones

Did the health reform process fail? Now we’ll never know

Yesterday was a sorry day in the long history of health reform in Australia. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council issued its five year score-keeper’s report on health reform progress…
Former Victorian premier John Brumby, pictured at a COAG meeting in 2008, wants an Australian federation with a better balance between roles, responsibilities and revenue. Former Victorian premier John Brumby, pictured at a COAG meeting in 2008, wants an Australian federation with a better balance between roles, responsibilities and revenue. AAP/Paul Miller

John Brumby: an Australian federation for the future

More than 100 years after Federation, the government’s White Paper on Reform of the Federation presents a historic opportunity to reconsider federal-state relations and responsibilities. How can state…
Ever thus… there is a quite a history of the federal government pulling funding from the states. Ever thus… there is a quite a history of the federal government pulling funding from the states. AAP/Alan Porritt

Funding stoush between the states and feds not so new

The states have some justification in being annoyed about being stripped of $80 billion worth of federal funding for health and education funding. These programs were negotiated on the basis of shared…
The Liberals, headed by Will Hodgman, has trounced Labor in Tasmania; will “coast to coast” state coalition governments transpire? The Liberals, headed by Will Hodgman, has trounced Labor in Tasmania; will “coast to coast” state coalition governments transpire? AAP

Not yet ‘coast to coast’ coalitions - so what now for federalism?

Over the weekend, Tasmanian voters resoundingly rejected Labor, while South Australians drove a cliff-hanger result that will probably be decided in the coming days. It’s not quite yet the “coast to coast…
Australia’s environmental laws are there to protect places like the Great Barrier Reef. Australia’s environmental laws are there to protect places like the Great Barrier Reef. Flickr/eutrophication&hypoxia

Explainer: one-stop-shop for environmental approvals

The new Federal Government has approved a broad framework for achieving a “one-stop-shop” that will delegate to state and territory governments the final decisions on projects assessed under Australia’s…
The school funding row left NSW premier Barry O'Farrell and prime minister Tony Abbott with fences to mend ahead of Abbott’s first COAG meeting. The school funding row left NSW premier Barry O'Farrell and prime minister Tony Abbott with fences to mend ahead of Abbott’s first COAG meeting. AAP/Paul Miller

Herding cats: Tony Abbott’s challenges for his first COAG

Personality matters in Commonwealth-state relations. A change of leader always brings with it a different approach to managing the relationship between the jurisdictions that make up the Australian federation…
What is a meaningful role for the Commonwealth government in the early 21st century? What is a meaningful role for the Commonwealth government in the early 21st century? AAP Image/Paul Miller

Securing Australia’s future: governance and state-federal relations

SECURING AUSTRALIA’S FUTURE: As the Commission of Audit reviews government activity and spending, The Conversation’s experts take a closer look at key policy areas tied to this funding – what’s working…
Increased longevity often comes with multiple health conditions and disability. Increased longevity often comes with multiple health conditions and disability. Image from shutterstock.com

Australian women outlive men then struggle with disadvantage

Women live longer and healthier lives than men but face lower rates of pay, are less likely to participate in paid work and accumulate less superannuation to retire on, which leads to disadvantage later…
Hate to burst your bubble but there’s a lot more left to do in reforming early childhood education. Hate to burst your bubble but there’s a lot more left to do in reforming early childhood education. Child image from www.shutterstock.com

Fragile progress in early childhood education could be undone

The latest Council of Australian Governments (COAG) reform council report released this week showing small improvement in the quality of Australia’s early childhood education comes as federal and state…
Tony Abbott has promised a new way forward for federal-state relations if the Coalition wins government. But will he find the federal lever of power too tempting not to pull? Tony Abbott has promised a new way forward for federal-state relations if the Coalition wins government. But will he find the federal lever of power too tempting not to pull? AAP/Alan Porritt

Federal-state reform: is Abbott offering the real deal?

Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced on the weekend that a government he leads would adopt a new approach to relations between the Commonwealth and the states. He has promised to meet with the state…
The Prime Minister was unable to get agreement with the states on the government’s school funding reforms. The Prime Minister was unable to get agreement with the states on the government’s school funding reforms. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

Beaten but not Gonski: the wait for leadership on schools continues

The A$14 billion federal government proposal based on David Gonski’s call for a better school funding system has not been agreed to at this week’s COAG meeting. In fact, none of the states and territories…
Universities source around 60% of their funding from the government - down from 90% in the 1980s. Universities source around 60% of their funding from the government - down from 90% in the 1980s. AAP

Funding cuts pose challenges for the university business model

As state premiers meet to thrash out an agreement on funding the Gonski school reforms, universities have been gnashing their teeth at being the losers in the funding equation. Earlier this week, Vice-Chancellor…
Tony Abbott has been quiet on the subject of federalism recently. Tony Abbott has been quiet on the subject of federalism recently. AAP/Alan Porritt

Grattan on Friday: Abbott, a centralist at heart

Suddenly, everyone seems to be unloading about the state of federal-state relations and the problems of the Council of Australian Governments. COAG, where the prime minister, premiers and chief ministers…
For low-income households, energy saving usually means switching off. Will COAG’s reforms give them more options? For low-income households, energy saving usually means switching off. Will COAG’s reforms give them more options? James Mooney

COAG’s energy market reforms must protect the poor

There is only so much that individuals can do. As energy prices keep climbing, in many households you will find a parent patrolling to check lights and appliances are turned off. Some poorer households…
The states have agreed to an initial agreement for the NDIS, but details of the first phase remain patchy. The states have agreed to an initial agreement for the NDIS, but details of the first phase remain patchy.

Another step forward for the NDIS, but details still missing

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has established an inter-governmental agreement that will form the framework for the initial phase of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). But as…
Weakening environmental protections would make it harder to do business in Australia. Weakening environmental protections would make it harder to do business in Australia. Dave Hunt/AAP

Cutting ‘green tape’ won’t make a more prosperous Australia

Proposed changes to Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act (EPBC) 1999, appear to have been shelved. The politics have shifted rapidly. Ultimately, the…
Electricity prices have been rising rapidly during the past decade. Electricity prices have been rising rapidly during the past decade. Sir Bennikins/Flickr

The PM’s electricity plan: it’s a Band-Aid not a cure

A few days ago, the Prime Minister Julia Gillard foreshadowed a “plan to make sure that families pay $250 less per year for electricity” to be discussed at this Friday’s meeting of the Council of Australian…
State premiers preparing to gather at COAG on Friday have been disappointed by the GST Review. State premiers preparing to gather at COAG on Friday have been disappointed by the GST Review.

GST review ranges wide, but ultimately delivers little change

As Prime Minister Julia Gillard prepares to meet with state premiers at Friday’s COAG meeting, the elephant in the room will be the Independent GST Review, released by Treasurer Wayne Swan last week. The…
A smart meter alone isn’t enough. Customers also need in home displays or web portals. A smart meter alone isn’t enough. Customers also need in home displays or web portals. Tom Raferty

Will smart meters benefit consumers?

Smart meters are in the news again with much discussion about what Prime Minister Julia Gillard is expected to propose to the COAG meeting on Friday. Smart meters can perform various functions, from remote…
Prime minister Julia Gillard takes an electricity pricing reform package to COAG this week - but could the answer be in addressing congestion pricing for the network? Prime minister Julia Gillard takes an electricity pricing reform package to COAG this week - but could the answer be in addressing congestion pricing for the network? AAP

Congestion power pricing might provide an answer to network gold plating

Electricity network pricing has been a hot topic in the last six months. The key issues have been regulation and demand side management. On regulation, Prime Minister Julia Gillard is taking a package…
Changes to Murray Darling policy are a big win for SA, but NSW and Victoria aren’t impressed. Changes to Murray Darling policy are a big win for SA, but NSW and Victoria aren’t impressed. Feral Arts

Murray-Darling: why Australia needs intergovernmental cooperation

On Friday, the Prime Minister announced that the Commonwealth will spend $1.7 billion to increase water return to the Murray-Darling River by a further 450 gigalitres. The announcement is a big win for…
Campbell Newman, Barry O'Farrell and Julia Gillard enjoy a laugh at last week’s COAG meeting. Campbell Newman, Barry O'Farrell and Julia Gillard enjoy a laugh at last week’s COAG meeting. AAP/Lukas Coch

COAG: the theatre and the reality

The rituals before a Council of Australian Governments meeting tend to outweigh the substance and outcomes from the meeting. By playing the parochial card before the meeting, state premiers sell themselves…
Gillard may encounter some tough talk from Coalition MPs at today’s COAG meeting. Gillard may encounter some tough talk from Coalition MPs at today’s COAG meeting. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

COAG could hurt the Gillard Government

The Coalition state premiers going to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting today smell blood. The Gillard government is in a weak position with constant leadership speculation, the Craig…
Julia Gillard’s announcement of a federal small business commissioner indicates a welcome interest in the sector, but its role is still undefined. Julia Gillard’s announcement of a federal small business commissioner indicates a welcome interest in the sector, but its role is still undefined. AAP

Small business finally has a national profile, but will it have the power?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to appoint a Federal Small Business Commissioner is a welcome move that signals an increasing interest in small business. But what exactly should a new commissioner…
A new national partnership agreement could allay a lot of CSG worries, if the states sign up. A new national partnership agreement could allay a lot of CSG worries, if the states sign up. kateausburn/Flickr

National coal seam gas agreement an important step in protecting water

A new national agreement designed to protect water resources from coal seam gas extraction and coal mining could offer a level of protection so far unseen in Australian environmental legislation. Any states…
Don’t mention the F-word: the states are unenthusiastic about COAG’s brand of managerial federalism. Don’t mention the F-word: the states are unenthusiastic about COAG’s brand of managerial federalism. AAP

COAG sounds off on harmony, but are the states listening?

In our desire to “end the blame game”, do we expect too much from the various governments in Australia’s federal system? This is the question prompted by the release of the third report by the Council…

Research and News (4)