Dr. Robert Dean’s (Melbourne Age Opinion 2/10) article triggers attention to the constitutional frustration and confusion which exists in Australian politics between the runaway tax (and handout) power of the federal government and the diminishing power of the states, resulting from the takeover of income tax powers by the Commonwealth government during WWII.
This raises serious questions (not to mention angst) about the operation of government under our federal constitution and its changing interpretation by the High Court.
These problems are exacerbated by the party system which took hold soon after federation, with its party leader dominance in the House of Representatives, and lately the Senate, substantially overriding the constitutional powers given to the senators to represent the interests of their states. But most senators are members of the major parties, giving them, at least, dual loyalties.
(I have long believed that the solution to this imbalance lies in the denial of party power in government by requiring the House to settle all debated matters and the appointment of ministers by ballot, with grass roots involvement and independent representation being the result. Failing this, what could be the answer?)
This looks promising!
It would seem that the balance between the centrist power of our federal government and the states could be advantageously resolved by a constitutional approach similar to that of the German republic.