A People’s Federation (ISBN 9781760021481)

Edited by Mark Bruerton, Tracey Arklay, Robyn Hollander and Ron Levy
Publishing 29 September 2017
Publisher: The Federation Press
Australian RRP $99.00
International Price $90.00

A People’s Federation will be launched at the 2017 Sir Samuel Griffith Symposium in Melbourne on September 26. Pre-order at The Federation Press website.


Federations are in a state of flux globally, and Australia’s federation is no exception. As policy demands change and funding pressures mount, federal reform is always on the agenda. Yet, as demonstrated by the failure of recent reform attempts, change is never easy. This book takes a fresh look at the challenges and options facing would-be federal reformers. It brings together experts from a variety of backgrounds, many of whom argue that, for reform to succeed in an enduring way, it must engage meaningfully with the citizenry to evolve policy structures in tax, government service delivery and intergovernmental collaboration. Accordingly, many chapters focus on placing the recent Reform of the Federation White Paper process in its domestic and international context. Some chapters explore the desirable values underpinning federal reform. Others detail practical considerations around dividing roles and responsibilities between levels of government, intergovernmental collaboration and financial relations. Still others examine how to engage the public in participation and deliberation over the reform process. This book arrives at a crucial time in federal reform and provides a unique interdisciplinary contribution to the federalism literature.


Mark Bruerton and Robyn Hollander

Part I: Roles and Responsibilities in the Federation

  1. Beyond ‘Sovereign Spheres’: Public Officials’ Views on Allocating Policy Responsibilities in the Australian Federation
    Rodney Smith and AJ Brown
  2. Policy Coherence Across the Education Continuum in Australia: Understanding and Improving Service Delivery
    Bronwyn Hinz
  3. Why Local Government Matters
    Roberta Ryan
  4. The Thawing Continent: The Changing Role of Local Government in a People’s Federation
    Bligh Grant and Joseph Drew

Part II: Models for Collaboration and Cooperation

  1. Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Intergovernmental Negotiation in Australia and the US
    Carol S Weissert
  2. Working Together: Policymakers’ Opinions on Improving Intergovernmental Collaboration in Australia
    Tracey Arklay, Mark Bruerton and Robyn Hollander
  3. Bridging Sovereign Spheres through Professional Networks and Lively Publics in the Realm of Mental Health Policy
    Amanda Smullen

Part III: Federal Financial Relations

  1. The Fiscal Predicament of Australian Federalism
    Alan Fenna
  2. The Failure of the Federalism Reform Process and its Financial Implications for the Australian States
    Richard Eccleston and Neil Warren
  3. Two Ideas for Renewal of Australia’s Fiscal Federal Democracy
    Miranda Stewart

Part IV: Future Reform and Engaging the People

  1. Obstacles to Federalism Reform in the United States
    John Kincaid
  2. Reforming Australian Federalism: The White Paper Process in Comparative Perspective
    Nicholas Aroney
  3. Practitioners’ Opinions on Barriers to Reforming the Federal System
    Mark Bruerton and Paul Kildea
  4. Deliberating Federalism: Can the Australian Public Help Resolve Federalism’s Triple Challenge?
    Jacob Deem
  5. Deliberating about Reform: Involving ‘Ordinary’ Citizens in Federation Redesign
    Scott Brenton and Sophie Reid
  6. A People’s Federation? Populism, Deliberation and Federal Reform
    Ron Levy

Conclusion: Grand Bargain or Slow Grind? The Challenges and Opportunities of Federal Reform
AJ Brown

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