What was so great about federalism, anyway?

So the Commonwealth is going to take over 60% of the nation’s public hospital funding. It makes sense, since the shared responsibility ultimately meant no real responsibility, and since the Commonwealth is the body that collects taxation, the states are an unnecessary middle-man in an area like health care provision – although I’m not sure why they’re leaving the other 40% where it is.

Of course, being the ALP, I can’t shake the feeling that there’ll be a sting in the tail when we look at it more closely. For a start, it still appears to lack proper funding for things like dental or mental health – it remains utterly absurd that the poor don’t have access to a dental scheme – and it’s not like the ALP is really going to tackle the fundamental inequities of a two-tier health system.

But it looks like a change in the right direction, at least.

7 responses to “What was so great about federalism, anyway?

  1. I reckon it’s time we beefed up local government somewhat and ditched state governments entirely.

  2. I’m glad that Rudd has been converted to the idea of community management of hospitals. Whilst some of the state governments have clearly underperformed in health, the idea that a huge federal bureaucracy should be managing all the hospitals is absurd and a recipe for disaster.

    Greater autonomy for hospitals and greater choice for patients should result in a more efficient health system which delivers the most services at the best quality and the lowest cost.

    It’s also good to see Rudd finally grasping the reform mantle after a rather inactive first two years of office.

  3. How about we get rid of all these state police forces and have one single police force for the whole of Australia.

    And we can appoint Russ Hinze as the Police Minister.

  4. Returned Man

    There’s that wonderful weasel word “choice” again – which normally translates into “no choice at all for those at the bottom”.

  5. Crap. Policy makers should be closer to the issues, not further away. State governments 9well the Vic govt at least) have a far better appreciation of on-ground issues, in health and in plenty of other areas, than insulated senior bureaucrats in Canberra.

  6. No, they don’t – Victorian bureaucrats are just as bad as federal ones – and the shared responsibility just means the feds blame the states and vice versa.

  7. No they’re not.

    Of course this is jsut your opinion versus mine, but I can assure you in my experience that Victorian bureacrats can find their own arsehole without a map. Unlike those from Canberra.

    Victoria and the Northern Territory have very very different health issues. Federalising it would put a one size fits all cap on a huge range of issues.

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