Should there be a change to how Australia is governed if/when we become a republic?
© 2001 revised May 2007
This concept has been developed over some years without outside influence. However I did received some documentation from Mark Drummond of Canberra during August 2001 that presented similar proposals dating back many years. This was after I had sent him my proposal.
Those who are interested in booklets and papers presented on this subject over the past ten years or more look for:
"Regional Government" by Ken Thomas PO Box 200, West Ryde, NSW 2114 published 1994
"Australia-One Country or Seven States?" by Hon. Clyde R Cameron AO presented at a conference University of the Third Age 29 September 1992. This is an interesting presentation.
"Towards a model for Two Tier Government" by Ian MacPhee AO, partner Corrs Chambers Westgarth.
Notes on the Abolition of the States by Parliamentary Research Service
Developed by Robert S Buick MM who is not a member of any political party or republican group.
Comment is welcome by emailing ... Bob Buick
With the on going discussion of Australia becoming a republic now is the time to consider whether the present constitutions (Federal and State) and methods of government need to be examined by looking at alternatives to changing how we are governed.
Towards the end of the ninetieth century the Australian colonies by referendum because the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 our present Constitution drafted in the 1890s and implemented in 1901 with few amendments has States, Territories and their peoples well.
To understand the major infrastructure and duplication of government service to the detriment of everyone one needs to understand that before federation the development of Australia’s colonies was kaleidoscopic, with no common values or infrastructure. This is not a criticism, there was really no other way that this continent could have developed. However what has happened since federation must attract criticism, national infrastructure has been neglected and, at times, discouraged with abandonment of substantive improvements because of all the States protecting their investments and opportunities. State governments refused to relinquish their power but expected the national government, post WWII, to pay for poor administration and what are clearly understood to be state responsibilities.
Should we, as nation, continue to accept this continued poor governance by allowing the status quo to continue?
Do we demand that we be governed for the future and although understand what we had governance must change and develop with best practices. Australian are talking of becoming a republic that will required a new constitution to facilitate government's guideline and legal framework. This opportunity, becoming a republic should be the platform to adopt a two tiered government system, National and Regional, with the removal of all states and territories we have today. This site will present a suggested National and Regional government system that I believe could serve this nation in the future.
The need to change:
Under the present system there is duplication and in some portfolios a triplication of responsibilities, here is a list of the some of the multi-stacking:
Transport the road and rail system in Australia is a mess and little has been done to develop and construct what the nation needs, especially since the end of the Second War 1945. Rail gauges developed 150 years still restricts passenger and freight opportunities except the standard gauge between major cities since the late 1960s. The roads are a national disgrace and construction and maintenance is the responsibility of the three tiers of government.
Health is fractured across the whole nation and is a shambles and seems to be in service decline every year.
Education another of the top three of national social needs is, like health, a disaster. Students are given adequate opportunities to develop according to their needs and national goals
Environment has always been the looser because of States Rights! During 2001 there was a conference between the environment ministers from all states and the federal government in elation to the state of the Murray, Darling and Hume river catchments and water uses. All the minister agreed that the quality of the water and the degradation of supply is reaching critical mass. There was no agreement to any solutions because of State's Rights and NSW reneging on making changes. However this writer believes all the States failed to reach agreement in case the impact restricted farming or development within their respective borders.
These "portfolios" as examples how of governments' have restricted national development, stifling good governance so important for national social needs and defining government's responsibilities.
Unlike the USA, Australia does not the population to finance and develop ideal infrastructure although each has a similar land mass, although we are governed by the same three tiered system. We are now suffering inbuilt duplication and fiscal waste. It is this waste that the writer is targeting and suggestion that the elimination of the present system of government and a complete change that has no comparison within the OECD.
Australia is said to be over governed with a national government, eight state and territory governments and about 900 county or shire councils. It is estimated that by removing state and territory governments the national will save about 30 Billion dollars per annum. Information to this claim is found at Should We Abolish the States?, there are many links on this site that answers a multitude of questions that arise when considering this subject.
What to change:
It is very simplistic to state that a tier of government must be removed but which must go, the State or Local governments? There will be many drastic changes required to have either removed. However there seems to a majority in favour to dismantle the state governments in favour for a national government and a number of provinces.
There are strong opinions that there is a need for the national government to be responsible for all portfolios deemed to be national importance. That is, what is has now and all portfolios under state management, most are duplicated anyway in some form or another.
Provincial governments would manage those portfolios that are not of national interest and of most importance to communities, similar to that demonstrated and experienced with the Brisbane City Council that has a population of about 900,000 residents. The 2001 census will update this estimation.
The Greater Brisbane area population is about 1.2 million and includes the bordering shires.
Using the present federal house of representatives electoral divisions, of about 85,000, and combining two of these divisions into one local government region. Retaining present national parliamentary voting principles see this concept here
The aim of this paper is to promote discussion on whether Australian should consider a change to how they are governed when the nation becomes a republic. There will be many changes to the present constitution with the minimalist approach and not a great more if this approach is followed. Which ever system is adopted there will be massive cost incurred because of change to emblems and icons and that is without considering including all the military requirements. The first consideration is for Australians to when becoming a republic?
Ideally the writer believes that Australians must be asked the question and includes this a possible list of events and timetable.
These pages are constructed by and copyright © to Bob Buick, Queensland 2001
Completed on this day; Wednesday, 1 August 2001 by; Robert S Buick MM, C/- PO Box 6007, Maroochydore, Qld 4557
Links to pages relating to similar projects:
A page with many interesting links: Should We Abolish the States?
Queensland's Sunday Mail 05 May 2002 Power Shift