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The Australian Federation


Since its inception, CAF has taken leadership in promoting the benefits and enhancing the operation of cooperative federalism in Australia. The benefits of a federal system of government include:

  • checks on power: greater scrutiny of government actions helps to reduce the incidence of corruption
  • choice: people can vote for different parties at national and state levels, and if dissatisfied, seek redress from the other
  • customisation of policies: federalism allows policies and services to be tailored to meet the needs of communities
  • competition: competition between States and Territories provides incentives to improve performance
  • creativity: States and Territories need to be innovative and to experiment in order to compete with other jurisdictions
  • co-operation: the need to cooperate on reform gives greater legitimacy and support.

Between 2007 and 2009 CAF commissioned a number of academic reviews of Australia’s federal system – the Federalist Papers.

Download the Federalist papers:

Federal Reform

CAF is committed to working with the Commonwealth Government to improve the operation of Australia’s federal system through the Reform of the Federation White Paper. A Green Paper will be released in the first half of 2015 for public consultation, with the White Paper due to be completed by the end of 2015.

The terms of reference for the Reform of the Federation White Paper can be found here.

Tax reform

In addition to the Reform of the Federation White Paper, CAF will work with the Commonwealth Government on a White Paper on Reform of Australia’s Tax System. This white paper process will complement consideration of federal roles and responsibilities through considering the revenue raising capacity of each level of government in the federal system. Further details about the White Paper on Reform of Australia’s Tax System will be provided here shortly.