If we scrapped the states, increasing Canberra’s clout would be a backward ste

If you were starting Australia all over again, you would have a national government and 20 regional governments. That was one of the things I agreed with Gough Whitlam on. … Anything that can reduce or end the duplication between Commonwealth, state and local governments is a good idea. – John Winston Howard (quoted in The Weekend Australian, November 9, 1991)

One of the hardy perennials of Australian politics is the claim that the states are obsolete and should be done away with. This view has adherents on all sides of politics, particularly those in the Commonwealth government with long and frustrating experience of dealing with the states. The latest call has come, not for the first time, from former prime minister Bob Hawke.


If we scrapped the states, increasing Canberra’s clout would be a backward step

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Studies in Comparative Federalism: Australia, Canada, the United States and West Germany

I n the State and Local Fiscal Assistance Amendments
of 1976 (P.L. 94-488), Congress asked the
Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations
to study and evaluate "the allocation and coordination
of taxing and spending authority between
levels of government, including a comparison of
other federal government systems." The objective of
this research is to determine how federal systems in
other industrialized nations have dealt with some of
the issues of fiscal federalism that are of current concern
in the United States.
To carry out this assignment, four reports have
been prepared: individual studies of Canada and
West Germany, a selection of readings on the federal
system of Australia, and this comparative analysis of
fiscal federalism in the U.S. and the other three countries.
The comparative analysis of the U.S. and the
three other countries draws on the individual studies
and examines the relevance of the experience of the
other countries for fiscal federalism in the U.S.


Studies in
Comparative Federalism:
Australia, Canada,
the United States and
West Germany

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Australia’s State Constitutions, Reform and the Republic

AUSTRALIA is still very much a federation, and its constitutional framework is
made up of die State constitutions as well as dieir more familiar Commonwealdi
counterpart. The Commonwealth Constitution and Commonwealdi
legislation prevail over State laws where diere is any inconsistency, but it is basically
die State consdtudons diat create die structure for parliament and government at
State level. In some ways, diis structure is radier different from die structure created
at die nadonal level by die Commonwealdi Consdtudon, and it somedmes
gives State parliaments die chance to act in ways diat are not open to die Commonwealdi
At least two kinds of change in die State consdtudons are under consideradon
at die moment: one linked to die push to cut links widi die monarchy, and die
odier based on proposals for more general amendments. The next few years will
show whedier diese padis towards amendment will converge, or leader

Australia’s State Constitutions, Reform
and the Republic


John Waugh


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The push to make northern Queensland into a separate state or states, has a long history. Torres Strait Islanders and the North Queensland Separatist League are among those who in the past have advocated for formal separation. Despite the political and constitutional advantages that would accrue to these groups, any serious attempt at secession would most likely not go beyond north Queensland, and would remain within the realms of political pandering by some local politicians at election time. Focussing on two distinct regions in north Queensland which have entertained separatist musings over many decades—the Torres Strait Islands, and a larger area from the Tropic of Capricorn northwards—this paper explores some of the legal and historical complexities of secessionism in northern Queensland. I INTRODUCTION For most Australians, the very idea of splitting Queensland into separate states within the Commonwealth may appear anachronistic and somewhat curious, but by no means a politically realistic proposition. Nevertheless, for some who reside in northern Queensland,1 this topic enflames many a heart. What reasons might exist for some people in the northern regions of the state to long for formal separation from the south? Is it greater wealth and autonomy? Misplaced parochialism? Or, is the push to make north Queensland into a separate state a desire to express the region’s ‘northern’ identity? The origins of secessionism in north Queensland2 run as far back as the mid- 19th century and this desire to separate continues to agitate, albeit sporadically, to the present day. 3 Some advocates assert that a new state should be formed from the.Tropic of Capricorn, extending westwards to the Northern Territory border, and northwards to the tip of Australia’s territorial limits. A second group in the Torres Strait Islands advocates for separation of the Torres Strait Islands from Queensland. The constitutional mechanism for the addition of new states is provided for in the Commonwealth Constitution4 and the Constitution Act of Queensland.5 The Queensland Constitution requires a referendum only when altering the Legislative Assembly; however, there is some ambiguity as to whether a referendum would be required in order to alter a state boundary. Further, no constitutional guidance is provided as to when secession should occur. That is, under what circumstances is it appropriate to form a new state, or states? This normative question is left to the people to answer for themselves.


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The Formation of a new North Queensland State: The Constitutional Issues, and Procedural Pathway

The idea that north Queensland should be a separate State was strongly argued in the Queensland colonial parliament and during the course of the Constitutional Conventions of the 1890s. Postfederation, there have been several petitions calling for areas of existing States, and for the Northern Territory (NT), to become a new State in the federation. One of the issues that has surfaced
repeatedly, in the call for creation of new State from an existing State, is what the Constitutional requirements are for the creation of a new State, and then flowing from that, what process needs to be followed for the change to occur. This paper identifies the Constitutional provisions relevant to the creation of a new State in the Australian federation, and then examines the key issue of the locus of power to ‘initiate’ the creation of a new State by separation of territory from an existing State. The paper then reviews the history of the failed referenda held in New South Wales (NSW) and the NT for the creation of a new State, and, in light of the those experiences, sketches a possible political and legislative pathway towards the establishment of a new State of North Queensland. Finally, two key points in favour of separation are argued: (i) that North Queensland has been particularly disenfranchised since federation through centr alist power shifting at both the State and Federal levels; and (ii) a failed commitment to the North for it to have its own senators as evidenced in s.7 of the Constitution.


The Formation of a new North Queensland State: The
Constitutional Issues, and Procedural Pathway
27 July 2017
Author: Peter Raffles*
Contact: rafflesp@bigpond.com

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Rediscovering the Advantages of Federalism*

Geofrey de Q. Walker
The new `age of federalism'
Worldwide interest in federalism is probably stronger today than at any other time in
human history. [1] The old attitude of benign contempt toward it has been replaced by
a growing conviction that it enables a country to have the best of both worlds—those
of shared rule and self-rule, coordinated national government and diversity, creative
experiment and liberty. As one Canadian authority says, `political leaders, leading
intellectuals and even some journalists increasingly speak of federalism as a healthy,
liberating and positive form of organisation.' [2]
With the move of South Africa toward a federal structure, all the world's physically large
countries are now federations, except for China—and even that country has become a
de facto federation by devolving more and more autonomy to the provinces. And you
can see the same trend in countries that are not so big. When East Germany was
released from the Soviet Union, there was never any question in the minds of its people
that they would rejoin the nation as the five federal states that had been suppressed by
Hitler and later by the Communists. Belgium became a federation in 1993 and Poland
is heading in the same direction.
The few remaining highly centralised unitary nations—such as the United Kingdom,
France, Spain, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Italy—have all faced major crises of secession
or separatism. In fact, the United Kingdom has been slowly disintegrating for over a
century, with the struggle for home rule in the 1880s, the independence of Ireland in
1921, followed by Scottish and Welsh nationalism, and 30 years of civil war in Northern
Ireland. The Blair government has taken hesitant steps towards a kind of federal
structure, but there are some well-informed British people who think that an
independent Scotland is a real possibility in the next decade.

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A 30-minute drive southeast from Abbot Point is the seaside town of Bowen, where parts of the Nicole Kidman epic “Australia” was filmed a decade ago during better times. Now, the streets are dotted with “For Sale” signs beyond the main drag.

“We had miners living in the high parts of town,” or the most expensive neighborhoods, said Mike Brunker, who represents Bowen in the Whitsunday regional council and is a supporter of the mine for the jobs it is projected to bring. “That was the boom time. They had to leave, they had to go to other mines, or they’ve just gone broke.

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For several years Adani Group has been progressing with plans to invest in a large coal mine in Queensland's Galilee basin.

Once mined, coal will be sent by a railway, constructed as part of the project, to the Adani-owned Abbot Point port, from where it will be shipped to the Indian province of Gujarat, to fuel among others, the Adani Mundra power plant.

This power plant generates electricity for some of the poorest people in the world so they can have lighting to study at night and power for clean water.

Reliable power is also crucial to attract industry so that people can have jobs to lift themselves out of poverty.

Inevitably, there will be those Australians who say that instead of selling coal to Gujarat, the Indians should use renewable energy instead.

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This Gasoline is Made of Carbon Sucked from Air



This Gasoline Is Made of Carbon Sucked From the Air

A Harvard-affiliated Canadian company is making a liquid fuel that is carbon neutral, and they hope the economics will be in their favor.

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How Bill Gates aims to clean up the planet

It’s a simple idea: strip CO2 from the air and use it to produce carbon-neutral fuel. But can it work on an industrial scale?

An artists impression of what Carbon Engineering’s ambitious direct air capture plant in Squamish, British Columbia could look like.
 An artists impression of what Carbon Engineering’s ambitious direct air capture project would look like when completed. Photograph: Carbon Engineering

It’s nothing much to look at, but the tangle of pipes, pumps, tanks, reactors, chimneys and ducts on a messy industrial estate outside the logging town of Squamish in western Canada could just provide the fix to stop the world tipping into runaway climate change and substitute dwindling supplies of conventional fuel.

It could also make Harvard superstar physicist David Keith, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and oil sands magnate Norman Murray Edwards more money than they could ever dream of.

The idea is grandiose yet simple: decarbonise the global economy by extracting global-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) straight from the air, using arrays of giant fans and patented chemical whizzery; and then use the gas to make clean, carbon-neutral synthetic diesel and petrol to drive the world’s ships, planes and trucks.

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