Why the Liberals should be federalists again

Tony Abbott is an unrepentant conservative centralist. Giving some initial publicity to his forthcoming book Conservatism After Howard, he told journalists that he wanted the Constitution changed to give the federal government complete power to pass laws over-riding the states:

The electorate wants problems solved and they don’t want a treatise on why the relevant level of government can’t solve a problem because it lacks the power.

“The federal government is totally hamstrung by the legal authority that resides in the states. Where the federal government needs to take charge, it shouldn’t need to bribe the states to do so – and it only operates as long as the bribe is in place.”

Some new polling suggests that, with some regret, the electorate agrees with him. As a general principle, a slim majority supports the proprosition that

It is better for decisions to be made at the lowest level of government competent to deal with the decision.

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