David Bidstrup. Mission creep in the Australian federation.

The chaotic response to the Chinese virus with all the attendant destruction of livelihoods and businesses shows some serious flaws with our federation and the continual arm wrestle between the sovereign states and the federal government.

It is clear to me that the vast bulk of the population are ignorant of the history behind the formation of the federation over 100 years ago because they have accepted becoming pawns in the continual political game.

Leaving out the NT, (Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Tever), and the ACT, (that artificial hot spot of lefties and public servants), the states of Australia are sovereign in their own right and always have been. Each has a constitution and a Governor who is the representative of the monarchy, just like the GG for the federation.

The original reason for federating was to provide services for the whole country that would be beyond the resources of each state or involved pointless duplication. The current situation sees us with 8 state/territory governments and 1 federal government for a population of 25 million people as well as the plethora of Local Governments, all supposedly “looking after us”.

Apart from the obvious drawback that this provides more opportunities for hopeless dopes to achieve positions of power it also means that we have lots of duplication of “authorities”. Each state/territory has education departments, health departments and many others that all require public servants to run them and “Ministers of state” to oversee them.

We have just over 800 politicians in 15 “houses of parliament”. Every one of them has their noses firmly in the taxpayer funded trough and most of them are a waste of space.  Putting aside the fervent wish of some to become a republic, (not possible when the federation consists of a collection of sovereign states), it might be time for some radical surgery.

The “virus” has shown the shambolic nature of our governments. When it seemed that the end of the world was nigh the federal government, who has responsibility for quarantine (see section 51(ix) of the constitution), pushed the panic button via the biosecurity act, (which allows the minister for health to do whatever he likes), and hundreds of thousands were put out of work and thousands of businesses were destroyed. In an act of “compassion” the feds decided to mortgage the younger generations future and implement schemes to “compensate” those affected. Now they are sweating on how to back out of the dead end they have driven us into.

When it became clear that the virus was not such a big deal and there might have been an over-reaction the feds backed off but the state premiers, those folk who were “all in this together” in the farcical “national cabinet” decided that they would make hay while pandemic shone and locked borders, (see section 92), quarantined people, (even though this is a federal prerogative), stopped the footy and in the DPRV they are locking down suburbs as I write. During the fiasco cruise ships discharged people infected with “the virus” while state health authorities were trying to work out what day it was, rabid left wing protesters were allowed to gather and shout at the rest of us but law abiding citizens were monstered by police for going to the beach. Note the lack of noise from the federal government.

The point I am labouring to make is that we are overgoverned and those who over govern us are in the main fools who lack any common sense.

Changing things will be fraught with challenges as those politicians who warm the benches in the 15 “houses” will not go quietly, however I think it is time to start agitating for change. We do not need 6 Premiers, 2 Territory Chief Ministers, one Prime Minister and seven Governors with all the attendant ministers, their staff and hangers on and their bloated public services that consume our tax dollars.

At one stage I thought the solution was the abolition of the states but I am not so sure it would be beneficial to have a greater distance between the voters and their representatives, so reckon some form like the Swiss federation where they have 26 Cantons and one federal government for their 8 or so million people. The Cantons are a bit like our local government but with extended powers and responsibilities. They range in size from 16,000 to 1.5 million people and have their own autonomy in certain matters. Perhaps an adaptation could work here where the federal government has charge of things like education, health and police for the whole country and the Canton “government” is like our local government augmented.

I recognise that Australia’s population base is mainly in the large cities so there would be a need to allow smaller groups to have a say with equal authority.

The objective is to reduce the number of parliaments we have and to get some uniformity across the nation.

At present we have about 1 politician for every 30,000 people. If that was changed to say 2 per 150,000 and one of those was in the “local” Canton government and one in the federal parliament we would reduce the pollie population to around 350, removing 459 pollies from the various troughs that they slurp from.

The country managed to cooperate in forming the Commonwealth over 100 years ago so it’s possible that it could happen again, provided enough people want to get out of the trap we are in now. The federal government has expanded its reach well beyond the provisions of the constitution and it would be a good thing to get back to the basics.

I look forward to the usual constructive comments.

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41 Responses to David Bidstrup. Mission creep in the Australian federation.

  1. Rafe:

    At present we have about 1 politician for every 30,000 people.

    …and the ratio of public servants?
    But you are right. The whole damn thing needs to be pulled dow and rebuilt.
    The issue being that the citizenry won’t get a say in the rebuilt Australia unless we have the bastards up against a wall.

  2. Tim

    Hi Ralph

    I have long thought that we should only have to vote for out local government reps, with the mayor representing us at the federal level. No State governments. Our Local council reps would be able to direct or remove the mayor if he or she is not representing the wishes of the community. A bit like a check and balance to stop our fed represenatitive going rogue

    Another check would be citizen initiated referendums. This would be done at the local level as well. If the ratepayers / voters of a local government achieve a 50% petition and this can be done in 50% of the local government areas then it goes to a binding referendum at the next election. All local government elections would be held on the same day every 2 or 3 years. That is a firm 2 or 3 not 4 Our elected representatives need not to be allowed to get to comfortable.

  3. Tim

    Sorry Rafe

    I meant to type Rafe not Ralph

  4. NoFixedAddress

    David

    I’ll go with local government as cantons with the proviso that groupings of Cantons can form their own sovereign state with local courts, police, education, health and welfare.

    Every single taxing ability removed from the commonwealth and the states fund everything from royalties.

    Tear up every single external agreement unless 100% of cantons/states agree.

    Defense to involve every canton/state.

  5. It’s too little, too late. As another commenter wrote once.

    A voting public who believe the Government ‘runs the economy’ and hands out money,

    The trade unions have coerced control of $500 billion of other people’s money with a mandatory tribute of 9.5% of every worker’s future pay packet, you can’t even vote them out now.

    Our yoof are determined to have their own go at getting socialism to work.

  6. Tintarella di Luna

    Thank you Rafe, that is a very informative post and I am keeping it in my file of things we must not forget

  7. John A

    At one stage I thought the solution was the abolition of the states but I am not so sure it would be beneficial to have a greater distance between the voters and their representatives, so reckon some form like the Swiss federation where they have 26 Cantons and one federal government for their 8 or so million people. The Cantons are a bit like our local government but with extended powers and responsibilities. They range in size from 16,000 to 1.5 million people and have their own autonomy in certain matters. Perhaps an adaptation could work here where the federal government has charge of things like education, health and police for the whole country and the Canton “government” is like our local government augmented.

    That might work for a landlocked nation smaller in area than Tasmania but how would it work for the sunburnt wide open spaces of Oz? What kind of local government would work for the federal electorate of Kalgoorlie which spanned most of WA (voters about 80,000 spread over 2.2m sq km)? About half of it is now Durack (97,000 electors spread over 1.6m sq km but that’s still too big to administer as a local government area).

  8. Rafe Champion

    This is a guest post by David Bidstrup so thanks and abuse should be directed at him:)

    Ralph is the correct spelling of ‘Rafe’ or alternatively Rafe is the correct pronunciation of ‘Ralph’. It is the old English silent ‘l’ as in walk, talk, stalk etc.

  9. C.L.

    Good post, David.

    The country’s governance model is broken. It was pretty stupid even in 1901.
    As I often say, our population is about the same as Greater Los Angeles. But we have NINE governments. Making matters fatally worse, we no longer have a major political party even vaguely open to small government thinking and we have a media invested in this current ‘crisis.’ The Australian is hysterical on COVID-19; this week it editorialised in favour of FORCED medical procedures on citizens – even though coronavirus stubbornly refuses to kill hardly anyone.

    The structure of our government needs to be changed, yes. The problem is that most of the people who would be the committeemen overseeing that change are left-wing extremists; their idea of improvement is bigger government and less personal freedom.

    There is no answer right now. This will take generations to ‘fix.’ In the mean time, people are likely to become more privatistic in their living choices and more cynical about society. This is sad – and it is dangerous. One thing people can do is to invest, as it were, in social capital by service: to the elderly, the poor, your sporting clubs, your neighbours and – above all – your Christian congregations. I believe we are being called to contemplation – which is not quietism. From contemplation genuine reform grows. But we have to give up seeing the problems of the contemporary world as caused by politicians alone or solvable by politicians alone. That is a kind of infantilism.

  10. jupes

    The problem we have is that the snouts in the trough are the ones who will have to vote to leave the trough.

    Good luck with that.

    Also we are living in an idiocracy where, for example, over 50% of average punters in Victoria reckon Dan Andrews is doing a good job.

    We are fucked.

  11. Texas Jack

    David Bidstrup makes a sensible call, and I would personally love to back him, but can we expect devolution?

    Would it not be better to accept the federal-state realities as they are and work to at least ensure we have a) no federal-state duplication whatsoever, b) local government constrained to picking up garbage, and c) competitive federalism Texas Jack style – where the ABS provides a quarterly state of the nation and publishes state rankings versus global best-practice (to great fanfare).

    I’m okay paying for an extra 459 pollies if I know they are being benchmarked and forced to compete.

  12. Squirrel

    The concentration of so much of our population in a small number of cities and their suburbs and satellites would make regional government quite difficult to work in practice.

    I don’t think much will come of it, but the best hope for cleaning up the pig-fest of elected and unelected officials will be a financial depression, or something close to it, which forces genuine rationalisation – after the initial period of increased bureaucracy to dispense and manage “stimulus” and other handouts.

  13. Rob MW

    The point I am labouring to make is that we are overgoverned and those who over govern us are in the main fools who lack any common sense.

    David – my two bob’s worth. I think that the root of the issue is that the Westminster System, as it was envisaged through the Magna Carta (15 June 1215 – amended 1216, 1217 & 1225), evolved into an intended system that revolved around a system of ‘Parliamentary Supremacy’ calling itself ‘Responsible Government’ to fool the masses into thinking that the rights of freedom, liberty & natural justice in Common Law via the Magna Carta would be unimpeachable by the political class. How wrong they were.

    The politicians, over the generations, overruled the Common Law with Statute Law thereby granting only those freedoms, liberties & natural justice that the political class determine best suits their needs disguised as ‘Responsible Government’. In effect the political class simply changed from one tyrant thousands of kilometres away to thousands of tyrants one kilometre away.

    I’ve often wondered why Australia’s republican movement has just faded away. I believe that after spending decades of tell us that Australia should become a Republic and finally when the political class took a much closer look at what a Constitutional Republic would entail and how their parliamentary power *could* be severely curbed, and embarrassingly, by the very people whom they rule over through referenda that they shit themselves and dropped the whole idea.

    For argument sake, I think that Australia should devolve into a Constitutional Republic with emphasis on the Common Law. I also think that the States and Local Government should be abolished and replaced with a system a ‘Provinces’ (mini States) and all governed by the single Constitution.

    There I said it, and waiting for the nuclear bomb to go off !!

  14. Boambee John

    David/Rafe

    The big bugbear is the status of the states in the Constitution.

    IIRC, in the Constitution each state is guaranteed six senators, and the total number of senators is to be about half the number in the Reps. The states will die in a ditch for their minimum of six senators, and the chances of changing that via a referendum are minimal.

    We now have 76 senators in six states, each with 12, and two territories, each with two. Round it up to 78, a number divisible by six, and look to a future 13 states.

    Make each of the major urban conurbations in NSW, Queensland and Victoria each a state. From just south of Wollongong to about Port Stephens, and west to Bathurst becomes the new NSW. From Noosa south to Byron Bay, and west to the range becomes the new Queensland. The built up area around Port Phillip Bay from Westernport to the SA border becomes the new Victoria. That’s three.

    Tasmania and SA remain largely as is (though handing Broken Hill to SA might be appropriate). That’s five.

    The Kimberley joined to the Territory might be as viable a state as Tasmania, as long as the Greenies are kept out. That’s six.

    The Riverina, on both sides of the Murray, siuth to the edge of Melbourne and perhaps down to around Berri/Waikerie, becomes a new state, as does the south east of the current NSW, joined with Gippsland and the Victorian alps. North east NSW becomes New England, as they wanted decades ago. That’s nine.

    The ACT plus western NSW join together. The thought of the ACT local government having to actually govern something amuses me. The Parliamentary triangle, AWM and ANZAC parade, Russell, ADFA/Duntroon and Campbell Park remain as an administered territory with residents voting in the new state. That’s ten.

    The main part of Queensland could be split roughly horizontally into three, centered on Cairns, Townsville and Bundaberg. This gives the final three, for a total of 13.

    Responsibilities?

    Defence, foreign affairs, quarantine and immigration remain with the Commonwealth, funded by a Constitutionally fixed GST at 10%, that level being also applied as excise. All else remains with the states, funded by state level income taxes, company taxes, and preferably no other taxes. Let competition between the states run free. Let the Commonwealth cut its coat to match its funding cloth.

  15. NoFixedAddress

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/07/the-eternal-meaning-of-independence-day-2-6.php
    Posted on July 4, 2020 by Scott Johnson in History
    The eternal meaning of Independence Day

    President Calvin Coolidge celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1926, with a speech providing a magisterial review of the history and thought underlying the Declaration. His speech on the occasion deserves to be read and studied in its entirety. The following paragraph, however, is particularly relevant to the challenge that confronts us in the variants of the progressive dogma that pass themselves off today as the higher wisdom:

    About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers.

  16. Chris M

    the states of Australia are sovereign in their own right and always have been. Each has a constitution and a Governor…

    And yet not the constitutional authority to levy taxes? Were the parliamentarians and public servants intended to be all volunteer labour? Now that’s a thought!

  17. Tony

    @ Texas Jack

    Would it not be better to accept the federal-state realities as they are and work to at least ensure we have a) no federal-state duplication whatsoever, b) local government constrained to picking up garbage, and c) competitive federalism Texas Jack style – where the ABS provides a quarterly state of the nation and publishes state rankings versus global best-practice (to great fanfare).

    I’m okay paying for an extra 459 pollies if I know they are being benchmarked and forced to compete.

    I’m largely ok with this. I think when the State govts are doing a bad job at something, pressure grows on the Feds to do something. The best we could hope for right now is for the Feds to move to more voucher style arrangements for funding health and education… maybe even welfare. Have small teams of public servants manage that, leave the rest to the states.

    Personally, I would like each council area to elect a mayor and a deputy mayor or two. The mayor goes to Canberra, the deputies to the State capital. The mayors have some executive power to do things at the local level. The bonus is they will be busy fixing roads and kinders and have less time to legislate endlessly.

  18. Wayne From Perth

    Local governments do not set much of an example except that they are proof positive of the need for compulsory voting.

    For all it’s faults our federation has been extremely successful and I for one am always extremely sceptical of those who seek to change existing working arrangements. Alternative voting schemes come to mind that are mind numbingly complicated and result in the proliferation of minor parties like our Senate.

    In this regard the one change I would entertain is the abolition of the Senate. It was meant to be a States house but has not fulfilled that purpose.

    As to the appointment of the GG this is fraught with difficulty. The overriding problem is to ensure that the position remains resolutely an apolitical one.

  19. David Bistrup clearly has not looked at the Swiss system as his reference is wrong. Switzerland has actually four systems of government 1/ is the ordinary citizen with citizen initiated referenda (CIR) whereby they vote some four or more times a year on multiple questions to a) change the constitution, b) approve or disallow political issues such as treaties, military service, border control etc c) approve or reject major capital expenditure projects d) set budget limits and e) recall any elected politician or senior appointed public servant 2/ Federal Government of elected parliamentarians and appointed public servants which has limited powers of such things set out in the constitution such as foreign policy, defense, infrastructure such the federal rail system, major roads and has a limited budget granted by the states. The Swiss president rotates and has a tenure of one year. 3/ Canton or state government of elected parliamentarians and elected and appointed public servants. This is the main executive level of government. The states do the taxing (as was the case in Australia). They hand over a set limited percentage of income to the federal government. The Cantons control education and health, state transport, power & water, environmental issues etc. 4/Local government with elected officials similar to some counties as set up in USA although State & local is combined in the smallest cantons. Citizenship starts in the local government, then state then Federal unlike in Australia. Policing is done at the local level.

    Personally, I believe in Australia the Federal Gov. has too much power and it should get back to the intention of the constitution at Federation. Then there is a need at all levels of government (including public servants such as Judges, Police commissioners, Fire chiefs etc) to have CIR so they can be recallled by a public vote. Fixed terms for parliaments and councils (shires) should be abandoned with a minimum term of two years and a maximum of 4 years. All Governors, Prime Ministers, Premiers and mayors should only be allowed to stand for a maximum term of 8 continuous years

  20. Boambee John

    Wayne

    As to the appointment of the GG this is fraught with difficulty. The overriding problem is to ensure that the position remains resolutely an apolitical one.

    Could the positions of PM and GG be combined, with the President/PM/GG elected by a national vote, sitting in the House of Reps, and selecting a cabinet solely from that House (keeping the Senate purely as a house of review)?

    The President holds office only so long as he/she can command a majority in the House. If a majority cannot be put together, then hold an immediate double dissolution election?

  21. Colin Jones

    What a strange bunch of economists you all are. You love competition in commerce and defend it vigorously but hate competition in politics.

    Too many governments? Too many politicians?

    Are there too many businesses? Too many businessmen?

    The whole purpose of our federal system stems from the history of our federation (it would never have been approved at the referendum to depower the states), the benefit of each state making different laws to encourage business and investment – or the opposite – and the fact that the powers of each level were supposed to be set out in the constitution (but our meddlesome pollies and the dreadful habit of the High Court to read stuff in that just ain’t so).

    The answer is simple. Return to the black letter law of the constitution eg states get back education and health and the taxes that fund them, Victoria stops making foreign policy etc.

    Lastly, pollies love being pollies because we allow them so much money to strew around and make themselves popular. Cap their expenditure year on year and watch them gradually revert to concentrating on the right things.

    We need a non-political constitutional convention to seriously discuss these things and present proposals.

    Thank goodness economists don’t rule the world.

  22. mundi

    Why reduce politicians when they are insignificant part of government over all?

    The 3 layers of government are over 50% of the GDP. They control dam near everything in our lives.

  23. Mark M

    A two term limit for all politicians as well.

    Get rid of the career politician and the massive lifetime payouts, courtesy of the taxpayer.

  24. Rafe Champion

    If we are making a wish list of good things lets throw in the Citizens Power of Veto by Referendum. Since it has no more chance of getting up than any other of the good ideas ventilated here I won’t go on about it.

    Yes, back to the black letter law of the Constitution!

  25. Fair Shake

    Hold on there, has anyone thought about what would become of all these out of work politicians? Free ranging across the nation taking their penchant for increased regulation with them. What if they secured work at my local McDonalds? I’d never get my egg and bacon muffin. I prefer they stay in their current habitats where they can do the least amount of damage.

  26. egg_

    The “virus” has shown the shambolic nature of our governments. When it seemed that the end of the world was nigh the federal government, who has responsibility for quarantine (see section 51(ix) of the constitution), pushed the panic button via the biosecurity act, (which allows the minister for health to do whatever he likes), and hundreds of thousands were put out of work and thousands of businesses were destroyed. In an act of “compassion” the feds decided to mortgage the younger generations future and implement schemes to “compensate” those affected. Now they are sweating on how to back out of the dead end they have driven us into.

    Pulled the trigger, more likely.
    They’re now desperately trying to put the Genie back in the bottle, now that the Country is a shambles?
    Good luck with that.
    Third rate seat warming career Politicians.

  27. 2dogs

    If we are discussing constitutional reform, let’s end the problem of government debt forever by the 2dogs federal budget principle:

    A. Federal deficits are passed down to states, not on to future federal government governments.
    B. Insolvent states are wound up.

  28. Iampeter

    The chaotic response to the Chinese virus with all the attendant destruction of livelihoods and businesses shows some serious flaws with our federation and the continual arm wrestle between the sovereign states and the federal government.

    That’s like worrying about the flaws in trying to move the passenger seat back, or something, while the person behind the wheel doesn’t even know what a car is or what he is supposed to be doing there.

    Until politics is actually understood, there will not be any clarity on what a government should be doing and why, so ALL responses will ALWAYS be chaotic nonsense.

  29. Entropy

    The problem with Mr Bidsrup’s proposed model is greater concentration of power in Canberra.

    Chris M
    #3503585, posted on July 4, 2020 at 9:36 pm
    the states of Australia are sovereign in their own right and always have been. Each has a constitution and a Governor…

    And yet not the constitutional authority to levy taxes? Were the parliamentarians and public servants intended to be all volunteer labour? Now that’s a thought

    I think this is the real problem. Canberra sees every problem as solvable by a bucket of money. Worse, as they own the bucket but not the capability to deliver, and thus don’t want to deliver it, the commonwealth will design a clusterf and expect the states will tug the forelock and do what they are told,
    Chris is onto a solution. I think a lot of this will go away if the feds became a service provider if the states. It would be shrunk enormously, mainly focussed on defense and foreign affairs. The states responsible for what taxes are levied in their jurisdictions, and get together every five years or so to decide what the feds will get.

  30. Tel

    The Commonwealth cannot be held responsible for bad behaviour of the states, and all of these prison lockdowns were decided at the state level. Yes the “national cabinet” was completely unconstitutional, but no they didn’t get forced into that … they all loved it.

    Changing things will be fraught with challenges as those politicians who warm the benches in the 15 “houses” will not go quietly, however I think it is time to start agitating for change. We do not need 6 Premiers, 2 Territory Chief Ministers, one Prime Minister and seven Governors with all the attendant ministers, their staff and hangers on and their bloated public services that consume our tax dollars.

    I only have one Premier.

    Although it’s horrible to see the downfall of Victoria, those people are responsible for themselves and I sure as heck don’t want South Australians voting in any election that might have anything to do with government in my state.

  31. H B Bear

    The problem with politicians is not numbers it is quality.

  32. Entropy

    I think people are unaware of the degree of centralisation going on over the last twenty years, and it is accelerating.
    At the federal level, there are about 60 ministers and assistant ministers as prime ministers have bought favours with OPM. It is hard to work out which minister is responsible for what, and federal departments report to multiple ministers. The lack of curiosity of the press gallery for this egregious politicking is depressing.

    This use of OPM to buy party support has allowed Scotty from Marketing to concentrate power in PM&C (probably started under Rudd, but the current dude is big on this). Once a tiny little report gathering agency, it has expanded enormously, with offices in regional towns and covering several floors in office blocks of the state capitals. I don’t know how big it has gotten in Canberra, but I have noticed that with each crisis, Scotty has set up a number of specific purpose Executive Agencies with enormous budgets they don’t know what to do with (because they get an enormous budget before they work out what they will do), all part of PM&C. These EAs are doing stuff (more correctly, funding stuff to be delivered by states and territories) for which other federal departments already exist. It is like a fourth tier of government slipping under the radar of an incurious press gallery. Existing agencies get the leavings from these PM&C EAs, if they even get told what is going on. Their ministers and assistant ministers certainly don’t.

    Drastically shrink PM&C, limit the number of federal ministers, reduce the role of the feds, and allow competitive federalism to be, well competitive, and we might have a bit of a chance.
    .

  33. Entropy

    Although it’s horrible to see the downfall of Victoria, those people are responsible for themselves and I sure as heck don’t want South Australians voting in any election that might have anything to do with government in my state.

    quite fucking so.

  34. egg_

    The problem with politicians is not numbers it is quality.

    +1

    Most of these numpties seem captive of their Ministries/populist vote/UN dictat.
    Zero leadership.

  35. Roger

    the states of Australia are sovereign in their own right and always have been. Each has a constitution and a Governor…

    And yet not the constitutional authority to levy taxes?

    The states levied their own taxes until 1942 when the Commonwealth passed the Income Tax Act & the States Grants Act, which was the beginning of dysfunctional Federalism as we know it, complete with the infamous vertical fiscal imbalance.

    The simple reversion to what prevailed before 1942 would result in at least three crucial reforms

    1. The size of the federal government would shrink markedly.

    2. Devolving taxation powers to the states would see competition between them to attract productive businesses and individuals.

    3. Devolving taxation powers to the states would also bring those who collect and spend taxes one tier of government closer to the people who pay taxes, making them more accountable (at least in theory – you need an engaged electorate too; but who actually likes paying tax?) .

  36. Karabar

    Individual Liberty is best achieved through governance at the local municipal level. And that should rightfully be confined to the three R’s; Roads, Rates, and Rubbish.

  37. Iampeter

    Individual liberty is only achieved to the extent the government protects rights. This is required at ALL levels of government.
    Roads and rubbish are not functions of government and should be left to the market.
    Rates are theft and should be abolished. The government will have most of the money it needs via the courts, which are part of it’s legitimate function and any other funding they might need, they should raise just like any other non-profit.

  38. MACK

    Have listen to the Labor and Shooters candidates for Eden-Monaro – it’s all about “the government” doing things for the constituents, mainly giving them other people’s money. While that’s the level of debate, the outlook is grim.

  39. NoFixedAddress

    MACK
    #3504247, posted on July 5, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Have listen to the Labor and Shooters candidates for Eden-Monaro

    The NSW ‘Shooters’ are a sub branch of the Australian Grn-Nat-Lab-Libs Pardee

  40. Procrustes

    David, why is uniformity an objective?

  41. Salvatore, Social Distance Martyr

    Individual Liberty is best achieved through governance at the local municipal level. And that should rightfully be confined to the three R’s; Roads, Rates, Running Water and Rubbish.

    FIFY

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