Think HBR


CEDA (the Committee for Economic Development of Australia) has released an important document entitled A Federation for the 21st Century.
As we know, Federation in 1901 was a way of bringing the separate colonies together to form a nation. To gain enough support some compromises were made that have resulted in a wide range of inefficiencies in a broad area of life. The world has also changed incredibly since Federation, so it is not surprising that some of the decisions made over a century ago do not fit well with life in 2014.
This is well summarised in the introduction of the document that states “An increasing number of Australians feel that the Federation is failing them, that the coordination of the three spheres of government is rife with inertia, conflict and incapable of addressing the challenges confronting the nation.”
In terms of the economy, Australia is crying out for true tax reform, removal of duplication and better coordination and allocation of responsibilities across the three tiers of Government. In today’s global economy, we must be internationally competitive to secure our future prosperity. A number of these issues regarding competitiveness are intertwined with the nature of Federation.
Tony Abbott’s recent call for “a mature and rational debate about fixing our federation” is to be commended.
Decision making in Australia has a history of being dictated by narrow-minded, self-centred attitudes that in the end result in poorer outcomes for everyone.
Discussing changes to the Federation is such a fundamental part of our nation that we must not let short-term political agendas destroy the opportunity to make Australia stronger.
The political parties must be constructive, not negative, and the different levels of Government need to look beyond their own boundaries.
It is a complex issue and we all need to consider any changes to Federation in their entirety. We cannot focus all our energies on one aspect that we consider as detrimental to us.
Discussions covering a broad range of options should be encouraged – even GST. None of us would like to pay additional GST but how can we sensibly rule it out completely if we don’t know what we would receive in return?
It is only through a sensible change of ideas that we can approach the best solution that will help Australia reach its full potential.