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Federal reform: The case for supportive subsidiarity in Australia

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journal contribution
posted on 12.05.2022, 03:31 by Jacob DeemJacob Deem
Reforming Australia’s federation is a critical but elusive goal, as the system is plagued by service delivery failures, blame-shifting and inefficiency. The principle of subsidiarity, which aims to localise decision-making and strengthen communities, is sometimes invoked to guide reform efforts, but so far has had little substantive impact. This article argues that previous efforts have applied a decentralist interpretation of subsidiarity as ‘decision-making as close to the people as possible’, which is too narrow, and that taking a broader approach focussing on supportive elements of the principle would be more successful in the Australian context. This argument is supported by an analysis of how supportive subsidiarity aligns constitutionally and institutionally with Australia’s federal structure, and through data from a large-N public attitude survey indicating that supportive subsidiarity is valued more highly than the decentralist interpretation.

Funding

Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)

History

Volume

44

Issue

2

Start Page

613

End Page

636

Number of Pages

24

eISSN

1839-2881

ISSN

0313-0096

Publisher

Law School, University of New South Wales

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

Yes

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

University of New South Wales Law Journal

Article Number

613