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State governments are vital for Australian democracy: here’s why

Frank Bongiorno writes in The Conversation (29.10.18) that, despite intermittent calls to remove them, state governments provide important checks on federal power, and a number of difficult, vital services for the communities they serve.

'As Victorians head to the polls in less than four weeks, there is a wider question worth considering than whether or not the Andrews government is likely to be given another term. Do state governments actually matter?

'Imre Salusinszky, a former adviser to then-New South Wales premier Mike Baird, recently tweeted: “State government in 2018 is about running four or five businesses. The whole Westminster thing is preposterous. An efficient model would be a six-person executive guided by a People’s Convention meeting biennially for a month. Doesn’t need party politics and chocolate soldiers”.

'That seems unlikely, but the idea that state governments have become too municipal to be taken seriously is familiar. For decades, federal politicians with a high opinion of themselves have treated the state government as beneath their notice or contempt.

'... It remains true, however, that in a time of disillusionment and distrust of politicians, state government provides electoral choice, checks on federal government power, and a large array of the services that Australians think of as peculiarly the province of government.'

 

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