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The Forum > General Discussion > States and territories - it's time to throw them out!

States and territories - it's time to throw them out!

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"The reason Australia has a federal Constitution is a negative one. It was due to fear from the colonies of domination by each other or by the new national government.

Taken at its best, the adoption of federalism in preference to a unitary system was the necessary price of creating Australia as a nation. At its worst, it was a base compromise pandering to colonial jealousies, which now saddles Australia with an unnecessarily complex and expensive form of government."

https://indaily.com.au/opinion/2017/01/17/hawke-is-right-its-time-to-abolish-the-states/

For example in my Federal electorate alone, it has about six State members of Parliament in it!

For me, I'll gladly vote on yes to getting rid of the States and Territories. I'll turn out with with pride on this one and vote yes, regardless of any Labor, Liberal and Greens thugs throwing bricks through my windows demanding I vote no!
Posted by NathanJ, Friday, 27 April 2018 11:18:47 PM
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Dear NathanJ,

My usual response to this suggestion is to point out that every 3-4 years most of us have five opportunities to have a say in who governs us and what checks and balances are put in place.

Two at the Federal level (upper and lower houses), two at a State level (upper and lower houses where applicable), and one at a local level as in Council elections.

Australians have that delightfully perverse tendency to vote for one party federally but another at the state level thus ensuring checks against the total domination by one.

You sir are proposing to strip 2/5ths of my capacity to have a say in who gets to govern my life and to also rob me of the opportunity to place limits on their capacity to engage in ideological forays.

What accompanying changes do you propose to implement to correct this?

Remember democracy doesn't always translate to efficiency and it was never meant to. China is a good example of this. But I'm pretty partial to our system over theirs, aren't you?
Posted by SteeleRedux, Saturday, 28 April 2018 10:19:01 AM
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Dear Nathan,

You've raised a topic that Peter Costello wrote about in
his Memoirs, "The Costello Memoirs," published by
Melbourne University Press in 2008. Apparently Mr Costello
also saw the problem of federalism and felt it needed to
be fixed.

He wrote:

"In 1900 Federation was a great success, the coming together of
colonies in a customs and economic union within an empire. But
the empire has faded and the nation now has consciousness of
itself. We are no longer dealing with self-governing sovereign
colonies. I believed that by giving the states a revenue base
a financial free kick - we would restore that sense of
sovereignty. It was a failed hope. States are moving towards
the role of service delivery more on the model of divisional
offices than sovereign, independent Governments. Legally,
constitutionally and practically we must fix the problem of
federalism."
Posted by Foxy, Saturday, 28 April 2018 10:22:42 AM
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cont'd ...

I forgot to add that personally, I like having a say
in who governs me at both the state and federal levels.
I like the feeling that I do have some control.

What alternative do you offer in the replacement of
what we currently have - And how will it be better?
Posted by Foxy, Saturday, 28 April 2018 10:28:07 AM
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There are good arguments for and against abolishing the states. I have no strong opinion either way.

I donít think it will ever happen, though. At least not in any of our lifetimes.

The task of abolishing the states would be monumental. Itís not like weíd just dissolve the states, have the state politicians go home and find other jobs, and then turn the state Parliament Houses into museums.

There are all sorts of state-based institutions and services that would have to be merged into big federal institutions. Imagine the nightmare of merging all the state and federal law enforcement agencies into big nationwide agencies! Whose rules and procedures do we use, and how will we ensure that theyíre suitable on a national scale? Even when thatís been decided, we would have to then re-train all members of those law enforcement agencies in the new nationwide rules and procedures.

Thatís just law enforcement, too. There are many other agencies and institutions that would also need to be merged.

And what about the laws? Whose state-based laws do we use? Whose common law do we use when there are conflicts? Remember, too, that part of the reason common law is different in each state is because different states have slightly different needs and views.

It could take decades of debates and administration. The Constitution alone took the colonies about 10 years to put together, and thatís just one Act. Just imagine what could be accomplished if that time was spent on other priorities. If we were to abolish the states (and assuming that it would indeed be the best course of action), it would be an incredibly selfless thing for us to do, given that only future generations would benefit.

Nup, itís not gonna happen. The federal system is far too entrenched. Weíre probably better off just trying to improve the functioning of our Federation.
Posted by AJ Philips, Saturday, 28 April 2018 11:24:37 AM
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One of Australia's problems is that most of our states are too big.

In the US for example, there is a seat of government in 49 states, in a country only 25% bigger than Oz. In the UK most counties, with centres of government are smaller in area than Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne.

I doubt the people of either of them would accept government from over 2000 kilometres away as the people in Qld & WA have to. This distribution of government leads to close settlement, against our ridiculously large capitals, which suck most of the wealth of each state to themselves.

This is bad enough, but total control from Canberra would be even worse. If you doubt this, try asking bureaucrats in Canberra to place Coen or Cloncurry on a map of Oz. Most would not know they exist, let alone where or in which state they are.

Chopping the country into 20 states would be a much better idea than abolishing states, would lead to enhanced development of most of the country, & reduce the huge drain of wealth to just a few capitals as now.
Posted by Hasbeen, Saturday, 28 April 2018 11:42:40 AM
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