We need to talk about COAG

19 Jan 2012

WITH attention focused elsewhere, summer is always a good time for politically important developments to slip under the radar. Two decisions with important implications for federal–state relations have slipped through this summer, and they suggest that the Gillard government could have another fight on its hands.

The first came in mid-December when Liberal premiers Barry O’Farrell and Ted Baillieu announced that they were forming an Interstate Reform Partnership to bypass the Council of Australian Governments, or COAG, and accelerate reforms in areas such as energy efficiency and skills. Both premiers were careful not to badge their partnership as a rival to COAG, but the move was clearly born out of frustration with both the pace of reform through COAG and the Commonwealth’s control of the process…

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