Investigating the functions, future and role of federalism in Australia

Federations are in a constant state of flux, with issues concerning the roles and responsibilities of state and federal governments, how revenue should be collected and spent, and should local governments play a greater role in governance.

While these are perennial concerns for every federation, the Australian government offered citizens the opportunity to think systematically about the answers through its White Paper process. The outcomes have the potential to set the reform agenda for the years to come.

Program Leaders: Associate Professor Robyn Hollander and Dr Tracey Arklay

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDERESTIMATES PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR INDIGENOUS RECOGNITION

A national survey conducted by Centre for Governance and Public Policy members has found widespread support for indigenous constitutional recognition, including specific proposals from this year’s Uluru Statement from the Heart, contrary to views expressed by the Turnbull Government last week that such proposals would command limited public support.

The specific proposals emerged from a nationwide, Referendum Council consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on long-standing proposals for recognition in the constitution. That process culminated in support not for a symbolic statement alone, but for treaties with Australian governments, a truth and reconciliation (Makarrata) commission, and a new Voice to Parliament institution which would advise on matters affecting indigenous peoples.
The poll found that:

  • 71 per cent of respondents generally supported constitutional recognition, 34 percent of those strongly;
  • 61 per cent supported the representative Voice to Parliament, 24 percent strongly;
  • and 58 percent supported formal agreements between governments and Indigenous peoples, 19% strongly.

The poll was conducted among a representative sample of 1,526 adults by OmniPoll as part of the annual Australian Constitutional Values Survey (ACVS). The results held up regardless of age, state, gender and political affiliation.

A media release with further details can be found here. The full survey result, including all the ACVS data on issues of devolution, can be found here.

The research was the sixth in a series of Australian Constitutional Values Surveys, funded by the Australian Research Council as part of the ARC Discovery Project ‘Confronting the Devolution Paradox’ (2014-2016), a collaboration between Griffith University, University of Sydney, University of NSW, Australian National University, Layafette College and the University of Texas at Arlington (USA).

Research highlights

A People’s Federation edited by Mark Bruerton, Tracey Arklay, Robyn Hollander and Ron Levy was launched at APSA 2017.  This book takes a fresh look at the challenges and options facing would-be federal reformers. It is available through The Federation Press.

2017 Australian Constitutional Values Survey Results

The Centre for Governance and Public Policy has undertaken the sixth Australian Constitutional Values Survey (ACVS), through Omnipoll Limited.

This survey is funded by the Australian Research Council as part of the ARC Discovery Project ‘Confronting the Devolution Paradox’ (2014-2016), a collaboration between Griffith University, University of Sydney, University of NSW, Australian National University, and Layafette College and the University of Texas at Arlington (USA).

The Australian Constitutional Values Survey (ACVS) September 2017 Results Release can be found here.

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