Maybe our economists have only been reading the wrong parts of the newspapers. If they skipped the business sections and went straight to the sports news they would look into the future with a bit more optimism. At least that’s what economic research from Germany suggests. [...]
Local governments could provide better services, like schools and fast development approvals if they received a higher proportion of tax revenue and a formal definition in the Constitution. There is a need for a strong and proactive local government that has more control over its purse strings and is more connected to the people it serves.
A country the size of Australia could be better served if it tried to delegate more tasks to lower tiers of government. Federalism is one way of achieving this, and many have cogently argued that it should be strengthened. Yet the very same arguments in favour of federalism also apply to local government. [...]
So is Australia really just a warmer version of England, as the immigration officer suggested to me 10 years ago?
Probably not yet, if simply for the fact that in the past decade Australia has avoided the worst mistakes made in Britain. But if Rudd continues his New Labour-like policies, Australia may well become another Britain, if only without the snow. [...]