This provocative 1998 study of federalism identifies a pattern of intergovernmental relations in Australia. Through his general discussion of the nature of the Australian federal system, and close analysis of recent developments in Australian politics and policy-making, Painter argues that our federal system is being fundamentally reshaped as state and commonwealth governments cooperate more closely than ever before on joint policy-making schemes. Much of this collaboration has been prompted by the need for microeconomic reform in the 1990s, and increasing concern about the degree of overlap, inefficiency and duplication across the federal system. The book includes a narrative account of the often fraught progress of the Special Premier's Conferences and the Council of Australian Governments. It also includes detailed discussion of a number of key examples.
• Identifies pattern of relations between states in Australia • Includes range of case studies and up-to-date discussion • Topical and written with a broad range of readers in mind
1. National problems, federal solutions; 2. The theory and practice of cooperative federalism; 3. SPC, COAG and the politics of collaboration; 4. Achieving cooperation: players and processes; 5. The machinery of intergovernmental relations: an institutional analysis; 6. The institutions of collaborative federalism; 7. Duplication and overlap: new roles, old battles; 8. The future of collaborative federalism; List of references; Index.
Review of the hardback: 'This is an excellent book, notable both for its careful analysis of an important period of institutional and policy innovation in Australia's political history, and for the issues these developments raise about the operation of government in a federal system … This is one of the most carefully researched, thoughtful and well-written works on Australian politics to have been published for a long time. It deserves to be widely read by all those with an interest in policy-making and the operation of the Australian federal system.' Campbell Sharman, University of Western Australia