‘One (Issues Paper) to rule them all’ – Release of the Fiscal Federalism Issues Paper
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(with apologies to JRR Tolkien and Lords of the Rings)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – On 4 February, the Fiscal Federalism Issues Paper, entitled COAG and Federal Financial Relations was released by the Taskforce developing the White Paper on the Reform of the Australian Federation.
It is the last of the Issues Papers to be released prior to the Green Paper, presently scheduled for the second half of 2015. The others are:
- Issues Paper No 1: A Federation for Our Future (12 September 2014)
- Issues Paper No 2: Roles and Responsibilities in Housing and Homelessness (11 December 2014)
- Issues Paper No 3: Roles and Responsibilities in Health (11 December 2014)
- Issues Paper No 4: Roles and Responsibilities in Education (23 December 2014)
- Part A – Childcare and Early Childhood Learning and Schools
- Part B – Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education
The Issues Papers have been released to provide an overview of “key issues” at a “high level” for consideration in developing the White Paper. They set out a number of questions to be addressed.
The Fiscal Federalism Issues Paper was released in the week that commemorated the 125th anniversary of Henry Parkes’ ‘Crimson Thread’ speech to a Federation Conference at Queens Hall, Parliament House in Melbourne. In the speech he implores his audience to overlook perceived difficulties and differences, to come together as a nation and form the “Federation of Australia”. He warns:
“Remember, gentlemen, that no work worthy of achievement was ever attained without surmounting difficulties. Supposing ours were tenfold greater than they are, they ought not to turn us from our object, for it is sound and good.”
Our present politics is not so very different from that of the 1890s. Federation took us at least 12 years to achieve the first time (1889 – 1901) complete with jurisdictional and political differences, economic and political cycles … “Remember, gentlemen, that no work worthy of achievement was ever attained without surmounting difficulties”.
Australia’s Federation is in need of reform and the ‘Reform of the Australian Federation’ White Paper offers a critical opportunity to start the process.
THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY AVAILABLE TO US – NOW!