The nature of the federal system, in terms of its basic components of localities, states and the nation, has been debated from time to time since Federation. Through this debate, the potential significance of regions has often been raised. Regions have been given significance by central governments which see regions as convenient avenues for administration and service delivery. But there is also an undercurrent of popular awareness of regions and regionalist thinking in Australian cultural tradition. In this paper we look for evidence of such thinking and consider it alongside analysis of public perception and evaluation of the federal system. We conclude with some discussion about attitudes to reform.