In which we remember we’re still a Federation

Adele Horin in today’s Herald:

Since Tasmania adopted the senior college system in the 1990s, its year 12 retention rate has grown at well above the national rate. The college system has been successful in the ACT. NSW is typically moving at a snail’s pace with only 16 senior colleges.

We don’t tend to like our states in Australia, not unless we’re, I dunno, from Queensland or Western Australia or something, and it results in getting a massively disproportionate share of government funding. But Horin reminds us of one of the benefits of our system: the potential for innovation in having six — eight if you include the territories — different governments all looking for a solution for a problem. Whether that is worth the duplication and waste of our Federal system is a debate worth having, but in Australia, we tend not to have that debate at all, sticking to petty buck-passing between the different levels of government accompanied by poorly thought-through declamations about dismantling Federalism, without giving due consideration to its benefits.