Australia does not need three levels of government. Nor does it need as many parliamentarians and public servants as we now have.

Having said this, it is hard to change the Australian Constitution by saying, “Let us sack all State Governments.” We have to stick with the concept of States. So, the only solution is to say, “Let’s have more States, so long as Local Governments cease to exist.”

Local Governments are not part of the Constitution so there is no legal hurdles there. Besides which, most of them are too small to be financially viable and administratively efficient.

Therefore, we can create about 50 States by each existing State ceding territory. This will be a good way to proceed so long as new and old States are given give greater powers than currently exist.

They must have power to provide all services needed at the local level and they must be funded, totally and adequately, by the Commonwealth who would retain sole taxing powers, but stay out of service delivery except to set minimum standards for matters such as a National Education Curriculum etc.

The Feds would handle only those matters that are truly national and this would include designated national roads & railways.

Existing States would retain their Parliaments and some of their public servants, but would govern only a capital city and a designated territory around it.

Each of the new States would designate a regional city as its Capital and establish the smallest possible Parliament and Public Service, using existing local government buildings.

Each State would elect by preferential voting one Senator only who would serve the same term as a Federal MP instead of two terms that Senators now have. This will remove the current system of electing party hacks to the Senate or wild card Senators who get about 500 votes plus a lot of fluke preferences.

So places like Launceston, Townsville, Tamworth, Alice Springs, Toowoomba etc will become State Capitals, decentralising Australia in a manner never before envisaged.

Crucially, no State Parliament will have an Upper House. Governments will be elected to govern and, if they fail, they get tossed out at the next election. The Senate in Canberra will be the only remaining house of review in the nation, solely because its too hard to remove from the Constitution, but there will be about 30 less Senators.

Let’s start to do it now. The cost of government will be massively reduced, services will be delivered closer to the people by small governments that understand the needs of their part of Australia.

We will be rid of a strangling malady called over-government.

Yours at Large

Everald Compton

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  1. Guy Pease

    Dear Everald

    The subject about which you write is so vital for the future of this country, arguably over-riding all other considerations, that as a nation and as individuals, we absolutely must find a way to start working on it immediately – publicly and openly.

    I happen to agree totally with the solution which you cleverly and succinctly present, and I firmly believe that there is a big majority of the voting population, regardless of their present party political leanings, who would favour some such change. The status quo is untenable. Substantial change is needed to the Australian Body Corporate, and you have come up with a practical way to achieve this which no one else, to the best of my knowledge, has thought of…………..

    The problem is that at this very moment we in Sydney are being hard pressured to agree to amalgamations of Local Councils into mega-bodies – and I imagine this approach will soon spread elsewhere. With a seemingly determined State Government, it seems likely to happen, regardless of the contra views of virtually all current Councils. Is this change irrelevant to what you are proposing? Or is there a danger that it would ‘kill’ your proposal before it even gets off the ground? Or can you see it actually strengthening your case? If so, how?

    Potentially, if only you could get yourself heard, preferably under a broader umbrella than just as a lone-wolf individual, you could well ‘bring order’ to the majority’s personal searchings for what previously seemed to be an insoluble challenge. Without wide exposure and strong community support, no one in any position of power will be prepared to take actual action – either because of vested interests or, more simply, because it is easier to put it all into the ‘too hard’ basket…………….

    I am assuming that the whole exercise would essentially be mounted as a ‘People’s National Movement’, hopefully to be backed sooner rather than later by key Federal and State MPs prepared to declare themselves and to get on board in their private-citizen capacity……………?

    What I am not clear on yet is by whom, to whom and how the eventual proposals for change would be presented…………? Perhaps this is a matter that has to be left till later, once people in positions of serious influence are involved. Unfortunately, ‘the system’ is so set up that progress will only be made if at least a good number of senior Federal and State politicians get on board………..

    As I see it:

    * A Backgrounding Paper would have to be composed and somehow presented to the public setting out the key considerations of your proposals with firm steps laid out for action.

    * A small ‘Organising Group’ (not ‘Board’ – inappropriate and anyway too pretentious) would be needed to deal with major policy questions as they arise – initially by email-exchanging and through a dedicated website. In this way, the need for office(s) and ‘staffing’ could be avoided, at least in the early stages of campaigning – unless of course some key player were to offer such support in helping get the project off the ground. The Organising Group would have to include at least one person from each present State and Territory.

    * Someone would need to be found with the commitment and the time to act as National Co-ordinator. A free thinker like Mark Carnegie might be an ideal person for the role, but there will obviously be others.

    * ‘Start-up’ seed capital would be needed – initially, for the main purpose of plastering all sections of the Media with ‘Advertisements’ publicising the Paper and inviting readers/listeners and the general public to indicate their support, together with offers to contribute voluntary help.

    * Members of the Organising Group would need to be readily available for media interviews and in a position, with good contacts, to harness and co-ordinate the efforts of other suitable persons as these come to the Group’s attention.

    * Depending on the degree of initial support, other volunteer forces, including existing businesses as well as individuals, would hopefully be harnessed to support the Organising Group in dealing with administrative matters, marketing challenges and government relations.

    This is only a list of things that I personally think would have to be considered. So, there’s no way it is comprehensive, but maybe it does at least expose the challenges and indicate the considerable forces that will need to be harnessed if progress is really to be made………………………….

    It is one thing to come up with such a far-reaching proposal; quite another thing to bring it to fruition. This is particularly so if, to start with at any rate, politicians generally prove reluctant to become involved. Hopefully, if strong public support is forthcoming, they would then do so.

    I guess the big question is, no disrespect: Are you for serious in putting out the challenge? Are you prepared to follow up?

    Best Regards


  2. Lloyd Graham

    The idea of new States is one worthy of debate; particularly at a time when the Prime Minister, Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers are about to go into a ‘retreat’ for a few days to discuss changes to Federation arrangements. Almost certainly though the matters will be confined to changes to the relative responsibilities of the parties concerning education, health, housing and infrastructure. The idea of ceding land or responsibilities to a new State(s) would, at least initially, send a shiver down the spine of most of the participants.
    However, it is very much my view that the starting point for all of this is that Australians take great pride in their State, and this pride can extend to a capital city, a regional town, a suburb or even a street. This intense feeling is the driving force for getting things done through the political system, and a new State(s) would provide an entirely new focus, enthusiasm and financial resources for an existing regional population who otherwise feel at an acute disadvantage to the capital cities with respect to the provision of services in particular.
    The big problem of course is in a State like WA where royalties from mining in the north has been a bonanza for the State coffers. Still, it should not be beyond the wit of man (or woman) to devise new income sharing and expenditure arrangements for WA, and any new State to the north, on the basis of a ‘no disadvantage’ test.
    What I would suggest initially would be new States in north Queensland and in northern WA from which others could follow. The administrative and financial arrangements would need intense analysis, and need to be worked through as you suggest Everald.
    At the end of the day I believe new States will be formed; particularly if Australia’s population heads towards 30 or 40 million. It is just a question of when the population decide to lend their support (such as with the NDIS), and there is the political will to advance the idea. Unfortunately, the upcoming ‘retreat’ is unlikely to be the start of the conversation.

  3. Clive Ayre

    I remember thinking something very like your proposal when I was a university student back in the early 60’s. The fine points could be tweeked here and there perhaps, but essentially Everald I think that it makes very good sense. Whether the system will allow such reform is another matter. One question is how to get this on to the public agenda. I can hear the official reaction now; we have more urgent and important matters to deal with….

  4. The Dells

    Hi Everald,

    To this .Yes with one proviso .All taxes are collected ,or there rate set by Canberra and distributed to the States on some formula designed a long the lines of the Lewis and Duckworth one used in one day cricket.

    We definatly need to decrease the no of public servants as we can not afford nearly half the working population not really earning money for the country but rather sponging off the productive workers.

    A point Government seem to forget when ever the old age pension is mentioned.

    Now how can we get this to happen?




  5. Carlo Bongarzoni

    Good to see you return to the subject Everald but I feel your earlier model was preferable – although vested interests will not allow the change I fear. Am catching up with Lloyd and Richard for coffee next week and we’ll mention your name I’m sure. Carlo

    Carlo Bongarzoni

    Carlo Bongarzoni Associates P/L

    9 Russell Street

    Clontarf NSW 2093

    T/F 9948 8975; 0410 335 523


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