University Of Tasmania

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The Organisation and Management of Intergovernmental Relations: Change, reform, or more of the same?

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 05:08 authored by Peter Carroll, Head, B
Recent decades have seen considerable reform to the extent and nature of federal-state relations in Australia, stimulating frequent debate about the relative authority and power of the Commonwealth and state governments. In addition, such reform, if it is to be successful, requires effective organization and management, a challenging task which is made more difficult in federal systems, particularly where the state and federal governments have concurrent, constitutional powers, differing views as to appropriate policy and its implementation and, in the Australian case, a Constitution that provides only one limited mechanism for resolving differences (the provision for an Interstate Commission in relation to trade and commerce). In practice, history shows that the demands of everyday government soon led to the development of a variety of mechanisms that evolved over time to form a series of networks, institutions and processes for cooperation, loosely coordinated by an overarching system of ministerial councils and meetings of the heads of government in Premiers’ Conferences. However, what took much longer to develop, interestingly, was the ongoing, sustained, organisational capacity at the level of the heads of government to both lead and direct this intergovernmental system. This emerged in the shape of COAG in the 1990s. In this paper we examine how these sets of intergovernmental relationships have been organised and managed. We argue that what has emerged is a loosely linked, binary system of intergovernmental relations, centred on the traditional ministerial councils and COAG, a system that is currently (2009) under review.


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Refereed Papers, Public Policy Network Conference


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School of Government UTAS

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Public Policy Network Conference

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Copyright 2010 the Authors

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