Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why My Vote Is Still Up For Grabs: IV/V a

An Excursive

So a couple of weeks ago Alison and I were in Canberra. It so happened that we were in town for 'Constitution Day' - the 110th anniversary of Queen Victoria given the Royal Assent to the Australian Constitution. So we made our way to the National Archives to see the original constitution from 1900. Have studied the legal and historical ramifications of this document in high school and at university, I knew that this was an important document. But I have to say that it was fairly underwhelming...the Queen's signature was barely legible. The highlight of the exhibition was a copy of Edmund Barton's draft constitution from one of the 1890's Constitutional Conventions (Edmund Barton was the first Prime Minister). Barton had obviously relieved himself from boredom at several points during the conference. His copy was filled with doodles and portraits he had drawn to amuse himself.

Anyway, see the founding document of the Commonwealth of Australia did get me thinking: What would you change about the constitution? [Read about it here]. What would you add? What would you remove? What would you completely redesign? For me, the most pressing issue would be Australian federalism.
"It is ridiculous for Australian federalism to limp on in this lop-sided state - with all the real power in Canberra. The priority now is to move towards a total reframing of Commonwealth-state powers to reflect contemporary realities and sensible allocation of resources and responsibilities." - Andrew Lynch
For the past few decades the States have become increasingly superfluous, yet frustratingly necessary because of their constitutional rights. One of the things that encouraged me about Kevin Rudd in 2007 was his promise of a new Federalism. Would breaking Australia into several regions (a fusion of state and local government) be the way forward?


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