Annastacia Palaszczuk, Daniel Andrews and Scott Morrison (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

One of the long-running subtexts of neoliberal policymaking in Australia since the 1980s has been that Australia's internal borders are a relic of colonialism that frustrate economic efficiency.

If we can't abolish the states then we can make sure that regulatory differences between them are harmonised; that national -- or at least east coast -- markets in essential services like electricity and water operate effectively; that competition-policy prevents state governments that cling to government-owned bodies from unfairly competing with the private sector.

High Court decisions in the cases of Hammond v New South Wales and Ha v New South Wales on state taxes, and the Howard's government GST, further subordinated the states to the Commonwealth in taxation matters.