Feb 25, 2013

The COAG cycle of frustration goes ever on

COAG has devolved back to where it was six years ago. The cycle of failure will continue unless radical change is contemplated.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

We’ve now completed another full revolution in the great Council of Australian Governments circle of life, and we are now back to where we were in 2007, when COAG had ground to a halt between a full slate of Labor state and territory governments and a Howard government facing defeat, when even actions on which all governments had previously agreed weren’t progressing because it might reflect positively on the other side of politics.

That’s the basis for the Baillieu government’s half-baked alternative school funding model that provides a pretext for Victoria to walk away from the Gonski proposals reform process, cheered on by the opposition and other conservative governments.

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10 thoughts on “The COAG cycle of frustration goes ever on

  1. Jimmy

    TO describe Ballieu’s funding model as hafl baked is praise indeed. He has announced a model but has not told us how it would be paid for or how it would actually work.

    On top of that it appears to me that it will simply result in more and more govt funds ending up in the private system as the “vouchers” attached to each child would flow to the private school as more and more kids leave the public system (as has been happenning). Why should a child attending a inner city private school get the same govt funding as one attending a disadvantaged or rural school?

    This move is pure politics but hopefully it will back fire showing Gillard as wanting to do something on schools (and Gonski appears popular in the electorate) and being frustrated by the liberals. Although it will probably be portrayed in the media as one of those fault on both sides/ end the blame game type thing where Gillard is told by various commentators to just do the bidding of Big Ted.

  2. Gavin Moodie

    I agree Jimmy.

    I have more confidence than I infer BK has in Gillard’s ability to negotiate a reasonable deal with the States on Gonski. The States were initially very wary about the NDIS, fearing that it would cost them a lot of money and/or effort, but Shorten and Gillard seem to fixed that.

    I am reasonably optimistic that Gillard will be able to prevail over Baillieu’s short term opportunism over Gonski. O’Farrell is on record as supporting Gonski and if the private school opposition can be neutralised it should be possible to get the States to agree with Gonski with, if necessary, some face saving concession for Baillieu.

  3. Andybob

    This must be the wonderful multiculturism our Federal system enables; Mr. Brumby was extolling its virtues just the other week.

    I’d back Abbott’s proposal. The Federal Government can probably already override State laws whenever it likes, using a variety of legalistic techniques, but it will inevitably result in drawn out litigation before the High Court. A simple power to override would hasten that glorious day in Australia when we can bid goodbye to State government.

  4. rossco

    Seriously, what are the prospects of amending the constitution along the way Abbott has proposed. Zero!

    Another Republic referendum would be more likely to get up and that would be damned hard.

  5. Gavin Moodie

    I don’t see how the Australian Government can override the States in school education. If it did have such a power Labor would either be using it as it did with the Fair Work Act or threatening to use it, but no such suggestion as been made by federal Labor.

  6. Andybob

    You won’t find any reference to regulating superannuation funds in s.51 of the Constitution Gavin, but it is regulated by the Commonwealth through tax concessions.

    Some techniques open to the Commonwealth are:

    – relying on the external affairs power to give effect to treaty obligations;

    – requiring schools to be carried on as trading corporations as a condition of tied grants to the States;

    – regulating school trading corporations under the corporations power.

    Its the Golden Rule really. He who’s got the gold makes the rules.

  7. aliso6

    I’m dlad you have worked on Coag agenda items – marvellous – is that what accounts for your relentless negativity? Off to news, Ossie O Rup, with you.

  8. Gavin Moodie

    I suggest that requiring States to operate schools as or thru corporations as a condition of grants would be too far even for a High Court usually stacked with centralists.

  9. Jimmy

    “Mr Abbott has told reporters about “a number of discussions with a number of premiers” on education.

    “They are determined to do the right thing by their schools,” Mr Abbott said in Townsville on Monday.

    “But, like me, they want to see what the specific commitments are that the prime minister is going to make and so far it’s been all talk and no real action.

    “It’s up to the prime minister to stop playing politics, to stop the blame game … to be consultative, to sit down with them and to try to make a difference.”

    So in short, I have instructed the liberal Premiers to make life difficult for the govt of Gonski and I am going to pin all the issues created on the govt.

  10. Hamis Hill

    Similarly, the thirty years of Commonwealth-State Housing Agreements has produced nothing at all because of conservative sabotage of any government “Intervention” into the perfectly “Free”, ha, ha private housing market.
    When, by the way, has there ever been wall wall state and federal governments of the same political hue?
    There is your recipe for perpetual frustration.
    Good, however, if it keeps the ” L’Execrables” out of power in Canberra.
    Sometimes it is sensible to “Keep The Balance”.
    What nice three word slogan.
    Say it, Tony, say it!
    Keep the Balance.
    But Australian voters don’t really need to be told when they have always worked it out for themselves, haven’t they?
    Keep The Balance.
    It’s a political given.
    Happening in September.

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