Federation Reform Could Re-Energise Australia


It is promising to hear the Prime Minister publicly signalling a desire to replace the fraught COAG process with a National Cabinet based on the learnings from the current COVID-19 crisis. This could be the start of a revolution in our country's governance practices. We should encourage our politicians, and all caring Australians, to join in a conversation on how our Federation could do democracy better.

What do you think?

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Sparty @ 2020.04.14 7:04 PM

Dear Glenn,

The current National Cabinet is the antithesis of federalism.  It is about 2 layers of government co-ordination and collaborating under the fiscal stick of the Commonwealth.  All to create giant standard national solutions.  The is the exact opposite of devolved and locally focused government offering local solutions for local problems because god forbid the needs and issues of Tasmania might differ from Western Australia. 

There may be a case for this horribilis in the current climate, but certainly not under normal conditions. 

This is absolutely also not democracy.  As a citizen of NSW, I did not vote for the policies of Victoria to be applied to me through a police commissioner pissing competition.

No.  Never.  No way.  No how.   

Lynn Wood @ 2020.04.14 7:10 PM

Interesting comment Sparty

Glenn is just asking that we have a conversation and his group is set up to do that. The current crisis is an opportunity to improve processes. If the National Cabinet works well now there could be lessons learned for the future. 

Glenn Barnes @ 2020.04.14 7:26 PM

Dear Sparty,

I am glad to read of your passion for understanding and improving our national governance. Unfortunately, the ills you see in this National Cabinet are to the most part there, but somewhat opaque, in the usual system that includes COAG. If you read the documents produced by the Citizens for Democratic Reform on the website ( and in the submission to the Senate Inquiry into Nationhood, National Identity and Democracy (The Australian Senate website) I think you will find a lot of food for further thought and discussion. Keep up the rage!

Sparty @ 2020.04.14 8:02 PM

Dear Glenn,

Firstly, I am very familiar with the governance of this nation.  I am probably one of the tiny few citizens who has actually read the Australian constitution.

However and unfortunately your link ( does not work so please accept this comment with the qualification that I have not read the material to which you refer.

However, I would put strong confident in the suspicion that the organisation you are referring to are about more effective government action, probably engaging better with the populace.

That however does not address the point around WHETHER the government should be meddling in the areas it does.  It also does not distinguish between the roll of government in a crisis versus normal state.

We can have much better processes to work out which regional women's change rooms should be built, but it misses the point that this is not a function of government.  We can have a better and more efficient roll out of the NBN but this ignores the issue that it is not the role of government to crowd out and nationalise private telecommunications infrastructure.

If government stopped doing the things it should not be doing it is highly likely that it would be much better at doing the things that it should be doing, like pandemic planning and management.

Lynn Wood @ 2020.04.14 8:07 PM

Try this link Sparty- it's in Glenn's post

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By Glenn Barnes

14 April 2020

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