As Liberal Democrats, we believe that:
⦁ The majority of government activity should be carried out by state governments
⦁ Competitive federalism, as envisaged by the founders of the Australian constitution, is paramount to the continual increase in quality and efficiency of government service
⦁ The Commonwealth is bureaucratic and has many largely unnecessary elements
To that end, we will:
⦁ Decentralize most federal government activity to a state level
⦁ Actively encourage policy experimentation and competition between states
⦁ Mandate the ceasing of all Commonwealth involvement in health and education
⦁ Restore to the States the power to impose taxes within the context of a substantially reduced overall tax burden.
Currently, in Australia, funding for health and education services comes from the Commonwealth, despite the fact that the Commonwealth do not employ a single teacher or run a single hospital. This, of course, makes no sense. State governments operate all of the schools and hospitals in Australia, so one would think that they should be allowed to allocate funding for them. Coupled with allowing States to collect income taxes, giving states the power to fund these public services will not only ensure that those with the understanding of a State’s particular needs are in charge of them, it will eliminate a superfluous, bureaucratic step in a process, increasing efficiency.
State vs. State
The founders of the Australian constitution envisaged a ‘minimally centralized union’, in which the federal government had relatively little power and states were in charge of most affairs. As Liberal Democrats, we believe in competitive federalism – essentially a market comprised of State governments. Just like in the private sector, competition will continue to increase efficiency, quality and value of services and products. Repeated experimentation and tweaking of ideas lead to the best outcomes, and we support policy experimentation within and between states to do just that. Increased competition between States will provide an economic boost and incentivize efficient and high-quality services.