This discussion paper, to prepare for the Reform of the Federation Green Paper, was published online after several chapters were leaked to the media. The Green Paper is yet to be finalised and is intended to be released later in 2015 after further discussions with the States and Territories.
Australia’s Federation has worked well since 1901.
Since that time, Australian governments have worked together to help deliver a standard of living that makes us the envy of much of the world.
Australia today, though, is very different from the country it was back then—the world in which Australians live has changed enormously, and continues to change at a rapid rate.
So, the question needs to be asked—is our Federation still fit for purpose?
Does it provide the system of national governance that Australians need right now, and will it help or hinder efforts to adapt and thrive in the vastly different economic, political and social realities of the 21st century?
There are many opportunities and challenges facing the Australian economy. Asia’s economic strength continues to increase and the global economy is becoming more integrated. There is no room for complacency, otherwise Australia risks being left behind on the world stage—meaning fewer jobs, lower economic growth, and lower living standards.
This challenge should not be underestimated.
Technological change is disrupting and making obsolete traditional models of business and government. It is also empowering individuals and local communities with new knowledge and opportunities.
Is Australia ready for this?