Any analysis of the key issues in the current Australian pre-election campaign sees devolution to a federal push to centralism. That is; reducing the powers of the individual states in favour of a central government.
I don’t recall the referendum which gave the Howard/Vaile government authority to usurp out constitution. I also find it faintly ironic from a government failing those responsibilities within its own jurisdiction.
The dramatic failure in pursuing alleged terrorists; the threat to force take over of states water responsibilities; the heavy handed takeover of Northern Territory Aboriginal lands; a dubious record of fiscal management (they have already surrendered economic management), are counterpointed by incursions into state areas of responsibility.
While withholding essential funding from the states for health, education, infrastructure and transport, the Feds have been establishing target funding and grants directly into these areas. As the states attempt to implement their rightful responsibilities the Feds are overlaying their own programs.
Without clear responsibility it becomes difficult to focus community concern where it should rightfully belong. As our basic social infrastructure continues to degrade lines of responsibility become fuzzier.
Of course Howard/Vaile are happy with that result, all the easier to lash out and blame the states as confusion reigns. Even more distressing is that the opposition, the likely next Federal Government, are simply shadowing the conservatives push to centralism.
In past years there would have been a clamour around the country and demands to return to constitutional designs. It seems now that few people either know or care about the underpinnings of our federation.