Canberra power-grab (letter)by Stephen MilgateNews Weekly
, May 29, 2010
Joseph Poprzeczny's article on federalism is long overdue. Successive federal governments and their bureaucracies have sought to weaken the powers of the states, claiming agency failure but overlooking glaring examples of Canberra's agency failure.
However, the states themselves seem intent on downgrading their responsibilities. The unelected government of COAG is becoming a de facto second national government.
This is no more evident than the recent move by COAG to implement a national (health practitioner) registration and accreditation scheme (NRAS). The NRAS legislation (that we maintain is not necessary to achieve a national register) contains the following clause:
"A regulation disallowed under subsection (1) does not cease to have effect in the participating jurisdiction, or any other participating jurisdiction, unless the regulation is disallowed in a majority of the participating jurisdictions.
"If a regulation is disallowed in a majority of the participating jurisdictions, it ceases to have effect in all participating jurisdictions on the date of its disallowance in the last of the jurisdictions forming the majority."
This in effect means that each state is consenting to its parliament being governed by a majority of other states. Our legal advisers say that this is contrary to the NSW state constitution and possibly others.
A growing number of voters must be asking why they should even bother voting in the next state election when parliamentarians are intent on handing over the constitutional functions of their state parliaments to the federal government or to COAG.Stephen Milgate,
Australian Doctors' Fund,