find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Reforming Australian federalism is our next great task

Reforming Australian federalism is our next great task

law-oration

Updating the laws governing the interactions between different levels of government in Australia is a big challenge of our time, according to laureate professor emeritus Cheryl Saunders.

Professor Saunders outlined the framework for reform in her speech for the annual Law Oration on 14 October.

The event was held at the Banco Court, Supreme Court of Victoria and was presented by Victoria Law Foundation and Melbourne Law School.

The division of power and revenue between different levels of government in Australia is orchestrated by an array of complex agreements that are poorly understood within the community, according to Professor Saunders.

The overlap of responsibility naturally creates tensions between federal, state and territory governments – but is also supports innovation.

Reform of intergovernmental processes could help harmonise the relations between federal and state and territory communities, according to Professor Saunders.

“I do not underestimate the difficulties in reforming Australian federalism,” she said.

“There are major hurdles in the form of entrenched assumptions, entrenched interests and widespread public ignorance about how these very complex arrangements presently work.”

Professor Saunders said disparity in revenue raising capacities between federal and state and territory governments was a major issue.

“The problem of the fiscal imbalance that lies at the heart of so much of the present malaise is less tractable,” she said.

She floated the idea of addressing the imbalance by reallocating the authority for revenue raising.

“This has some attraction in terms of constitutional structure and political culture, but it may now be a step too far,” she said.

The other option, according to Professor Saunders, was to leave the imbalance in place but “readjust our understanding of what it means” instead.

“This would involve accepting that the Commonwealth raises money on behalf of both spheres of government as a matter of public convenience but that this has no necessary implications for the expenditure of proceeds,” she said.

Professor Saunders said there would be a “host of significant decisions” to be made about which projects should be coordinated nationally, including urban infrastructure and school curriculum.

She said she did not “hold out great hopes that the current formal review process will proceed along these lines”.

“I would be very happy to be proved wrong, but indications such as they are suggest that its horizons are likely to be significantly more limited. That would be a pity, but it wouldn't be the end of the world.”

Like this story? Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive Lawyers Weekly every day straight to your inbox.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Reforming Australian federalism is our next great task
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...