COAG

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A leader’s retreat between state premiers and prime minister Tony Abbott will centre around the GST. AAP/David Moir

Leaders debate the GST: what you need to know

Who supports increasing the GST and who is against it? What does 'regressive tax' mean? And who will be worse off? Our experts give the answers.
New South Wales Premier Mike Baird is one of the more reasonable and well-performing politicians in the country. David Moir/AAP

That GST debate: is it game over, game on, or just a never-ending game?

On Sunday, June 28, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill breakfasted at an Adelaide cafe. Baird had flown to SA for the meeting. Their discussion was about Tony…
The federation’s problems have outlasted the leaders who sought transformative reforms a decade ago; their successors must be wholly committed and follow democratic principles if they are to do any better. AAP/Alan Porritt

Let the Constitution and democratic principle guide us to renew federalism

The federalism discussion paper is out and the prime minister has called a leaders' 'retreat' to consider it. They should build on the Constitution's democratic principles to make the federation work better.
More mines, more roads, as the government puts its drive towards economic development ahead of all else. AAP Image/Alan Porritt

There are no green shoots for sustainability in this Budget

Amid talk of paths to surplus and investing in infrastructure, both sides of politics seem to have forgotten Australia's longstanding responsibility to govern sustainably, and not just for the economy.
The Australian newspaper reported that the Federal Treasurer has refused to back down on a proposed $4 billion cut to schools and hospital funding – a move that will anger the states. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Federalism at stake if $4b is cut from schools and hospitals

The government’s attempt to engage the States on one hand while whipping them with the other does not augur well for tackling growing health and education costs -- or for lasting federal reform.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his state and territory counterparts have promised a stronger national response to violence against women – but will they deliver? Stefan Postles/AAP

Australia’s ‘urgent’ action on family violence has fallen years behind

Australia's federal and state leaders have pledged "urgent collective action" on violence against women. But a closer look at COAG's new action plan reveals we're already years behind on key measures.
The Commonwealth appear to hold the aces when it comes to state-federal funding, but the states have cards to play. AAP/Stefan Postles

Time for states to change the script over GST gains

The stoush over GST redistribution followed a predictable script of squabbling between states; but now is the time for an alternative agenda.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott will chair a meeting on domestic violence, flanked by the rest of Australia’s political leaders – but will they finally commit to long-term, bipartisan action? Lukas Coch/AAP

Cancel the inquiries: we don’t need more reports on domestic violence

For decades, successive governments have cherry-picked reports on domestic violence for the easy fixes, and ignored the hard stuff. So no more summits and royal commissions – it's time to act.
Today’s state and territory leaders have an opportunity to emulate the founders of the federation and make history by breathing new life into Australia’s system of government. AAP/Lukas Coch

Rebalancing government in Australia to save our federation

Federation in 1901 is now the middle point between 2014 and the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. Despite this, most views of federation, if Australians have one at all, are probably shaped by its…
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. 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. 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. 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…

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