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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2619

Federalism to be ‘fixed’ in rich ‘continent’ of Australia

By Ranjith Soysa – Melbourne

Kevin Rudd, the newly elected Australian Prime Minister recently convened a gathering of “best and the brightest “in Australia to discuss main issues facing the country. ‘The 2020 Ideas Summit’ was hailed by many as a path breaker and focussed on vital areas, threw up new opportunities to the policy makers and citizens.

Two of the favourite agenda items of Mr Rudd was climate change and urgent need to fix the federation. Reforms to federation and federalism in regard to governance and economics received the attention of the summit.

The summit adopted a proposal to appoint a New Federation Commission and deliberated on the setting up of a new constitutional convention to discuss National and State powers.

Some of the areas which received the attention were law and order, evolving a national economy, national market in labour, transport and communications. Co- Chair of the economic group of the summit further clarified that the new Federation Commission will develop a national unifying theme to oversee a truly national Economy to get away from the duplication of National and State functions. The challenge from globalized economic forces was identified as a compelling factor to think nationally rather than on the basis of smaller units.

Sri Lanka, a smaller country, densely populated with much less resources is now considering devolving maximum possible powers to the regions as per 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the APC discussions. It is advisable to be cautions and learn from countries like Australia before proceeding to undo the Unitary State. While delegating the powers for development purposes and good governance to build a strong nation it is very necessary to think nationally. If the country can get rid of the LTTE terrorism as planned, our next objective should be to maximize utilization of man power and other resources to build a strong ‘NATION’ and not a fragmented rump of a country.

- Asian Tribune -

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