There is one thing that is of no interest whatsoever to the Australian Republican Movement.
This is improving the governance of our country. Although we have one of the world’s most successful constitutional systems, and although we are one of the world’s oldest most stable democracies, there are aspects of our constitutional system which need attention.
…the hidden cost of these republican stunts..
Apart from the dangers of the one model they have been able to develop – dangers which were actually admitted by constitutional lawyers and others who supported the yes case in the 1999 referendum, the republicans can be justifiably criticised for the consequence of their endless stunts which grab the media headlines.
The nation – parliaments, media and the citizenry – are thus far too often distracted from the serious questions concerning the governance of the nation.
The people just do not want a politicians’ republic, but their justifiable interest in improving the quality of governance is being stultified by the antics of the republicans.
One burning issue which needs attention is the march towards centralism, the inexorable accrual of power by the Federal Parliament and government. This is after all a Federal Commonwealth under the Crown.
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Yet we are, fiscally speaking, the most centralised federation is the world. The States have been converted into mendicants on the Commonwealth, and like healthy adults on welfare they too often exhibit some of the characteristics of the dysfunctional.
The glib answer is the abolition of the States. This is not usually proposed to remove a level of government. It is suggested that the States be replaced by a multiplicity of regional authorities.
This will only make the Federal government even more powerful moving into even more areas which have nothing to do with it, and which it cannot possibly administer. The insulation of homes is but one example. The answer is to make the States responsible to the people who elect them by making them go to the people for their funding.
There is one organisation dedicated to finding a solution. This is The Samuel Griffith Society, whose 22nd Conference was held in Perth on 27 to 29 August.
I shall return to this in a following column.