Feb 252013

This morning on Radio National Breakfast I heard yet another example of the moribund state of Federalism, co-operative or otherwise, within our democracy.This time over the Gonski education reforms. I am particularly disgusted by the way State Governments of a conservative flavour will use the Federal election as an excuse to banter negatively to any initiative or reform idea put forward by the Commonwealth. Colin Barnett’s presumption that the ‘experts’ in deciding what is and is not right for our children’s education rests with the States because currently the States control funding. I find such a postulation absurd, given we have a national curriculum, and Gonski, if it is ever enacted, will provide a Federally funded platform for it.

It doesn’t matter to me whether the Feds pay for education and the States administer it, in fact, I’d probably prefer things that way. The driver for these initiatives is always comparisons with OECD countries anyway, so even if the Feds under fund at some point, the evidence will soon become visible to we who ultimately pay the bills. The current paradigm of state funding supported by Federal distribution of GST clearly isn’t working and only provides a basis for more finger pointing, name-calling and political duck-shoving between State & Federal spheres. More evidence of the superfluousness of the States in three tier government structure. The current barney between conservatively governed States and the Commonwealth over health is yet another example of duck-shoving responsibilities. The Commonwealth needs to take control and deal directly with hospital administrations. If the States won’t co-operate, delete them from the calculation.