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Bob Hawke’s narrative on abolishing the states is nonsense

André Brett comments in The Guardian (4.1.17) that, in a federation of states with a constitution which protects their identity, the abolition of Australia’s states is an unrealistic and unachievable fantasy.

‘Former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke has again mounted his abolish-the-states hobbyhorse. In his address to the Woodford folk festival, he depicted the states as representing “the meanderings of British explorers across the Australian continent more than 200 years ago”.

‘In Hawke’s version of history, “lines were drawn on a map and jurisdiction and governance followed”. His conclusion is unambiguous: “The simple fact is the states should be abolished”.

‘The actual simple fact it is that Hawke’s narrative is nonsense. The states were not created through the whims of explorers, and they form the basis of Australia’s constitutional existence.

‘Whatever the claims of efficiency that underlie the desire for abolition – predicated on the belief that centralisation inherently reduces costs and creates better outcomes – there are good reasons to dismiss the idea.’

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