Federalism is the problem, not the answer. The "dissolve the states" meme appears to have taken root in Australia. An interesting interview with former New Zealand Prime Minister David Lange. Australian Government reaffirms commitment to Iraq with troop movements, sixty at a time.
The Australian Misunderstanding of Federalism
An article was published on webdiary from a self-professed Australian conservative. The article is entitled;
Welcome back, Webdiary conservatives!
. The conservatives may as well change their moniker to "statists". They are essentially unrepetent in their use of centrism and federal legislative coercion to achieve their ends. The conservative view of federalism in Australia is a confusing one. It is based on duplication of bureaucracies at the Federal and State level. To conservatives it is the State that must go, not the Federal government. Conservatives look at power as centrist and statist. The Federal Government being the source of power. Not the diffuse power of the states.
This is a meme that has only popped up with Howard. I can recall doing a diary on k5 a couple of years ago on Howard's view of the States and how they should be abolished. I suspect this is not one of idealism, or reality on a government system, but rather one based upon the fact that voters have chosen all Labor governments at the State level to counter the Liberal federal government. Howard is naked in his grabs for absolute power and control. To Howard having complete control of Australia is the only acceptable form of government, Abolishing the states, or at the least weakening their power, fits with his mindset, and desire of absolute power. Shaun O'Brien falls into the same trap and echo's Howards previous statements;
Why is there so little comment in Webdiary over one of the most negative impacts on this country - the constant bickering and bureaucratic wastage with the responsibilities over the same areas between the Federal and States? And to have Latham and the Labor premiers all sit down for a love fest made me laugh. Just wait to the next split of GST revenues and see how long the togetherness lasts, or maybe when the southern states want Queensland to lose more water rights for the Murray. How much money is wasted in doubling up the bureaucracy? How much money for schools, unis and health benefits could be increased?
What O'Brien is omitting is that the duplicity is at the Federal level. The Westminster system is weak in combating centrism. Coupled with the "horse and buggy" constitution Australia was saddled with by the "bearded men". It is a pre-1787 constitution. Missing a Bill of Rights, missing any semblance of minimisation of federal power. It is a poor constitution not fit to be passed in the 1700's let alone in 1901. The federal government has continually and constantly coveted the States responsibilities. With each government, the Federal government has encroached on the state responsibilities until we find ourselves today - with the Federal government now taxing for the states, and pronouncing the rhetoric that Australia would be more efficient without the States. Tyranny and despotism here we come. One system, one way. Next it will be leave if you don't like it.
Federal government is the problem, not the solution. Smaller federal government is what should be happening in Australia, not the ever-onwards march of centrism to one big government situated in Canberra. I could think of nothing weaker as a barrier to government encroachment on individual liberty than one monstrous, behemoth of a federal government. Federal government needs to be trimmed to issues that require federal consensus, and nothing else. That means federal government should be trimmed to international/interstate trade, defence, supreme court and nothing else. The states can manage everything else, as they should.
David Lange Interview
David Lange was the former Prime Minister of New Zealand in the 1980's. he was at the helm when the French sunk the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour, and other incidents, including the collapse of the ANZUS due to New Zealand sticking to its morals. I recall Lange as being the first New Zealand Prime Minister to show the courage internationally that it is now well known for. For instance, Helen Clark's rebuff of Israel and Mossad, that included new Zealand and Israel calling back their ambassadors. Mjl pointed out an
interesting interview with David Lange
. From the interview when asked whether his handling of the
incident was a success of failure;
In terms of the outcome to the people of New Zealand, it was probably regarded as a failure. But it demonstrates one of the problems of being in Government : it could have been a resounding success and we could have lost access to Europe for butter. So I think we had the choice.
The failure on my part was pretty simple. I had been brought up in the law and had this sort of instinct that international law operates and was there to protect principles and not to be the plaything of power and might - which I now know, of course, to be an absolute nonsense. International law should be spelled l-o-r-e. You can do anything you like including invading Iraq if you want to. I believed it was right to do what we did and what a lot of agony that was. I remember when we found out when they first proposed to put them, it 2 o'clock in the morning in the General Assembly Library we discovered that the place that they were planning to send them, off the coast of Africa, was a Club Med resort. That saved me from a great deal of humiliation. Working through the good offices of the Dutch Premier, we did that settlement [to keep them on Hao atoll] and then, unbelievably, having concluded treaties, international agreements with other countries, they repatriated the woman because she was pregnant - of course people had been pregnant on the equator for thousands of years - and the man, because he had flatulence. That's a fact. That's why he is called Marfart. He got there just in time to be released of his wind difficulty on the eve of the presidential election ...
It's extraordinary that we as, at times, a frail Government in a small country, ended up with an anti-nuclear policy which simply got stronger over the years, not because of our advocacy but because of two of three quite spectacular incidents.
The one minor starter was the French persistence in testing in the Pacific. The second was the United States reprisals back in 1985 which were deeply resented by New Zealanders. It was still any one's game. But the Rainbow Warrior certainly engraved it in platinum. It's just amazing.
Lange also speaks on the lack of leverage that being giving away the farm effects policy. Australia in free trade agreements does not have much leverages. Because, like Taiwan, Australia has low to nil tariffs anyway. Especially in agriculture. Australia is getting shafted in the Au-US FTA as it has nothing to offer the US other than adding the DMCA to its patent/copyright/intellectual-property laws, and abandoning the Pharmaceutical benefits Scheme. Australia should only be bartering on bilateral arrangements with equals. Lange comments on the Creech report with;
No because the Creech report clearly misconceives the challenge ...
The problem is that Roger [Douglas] and I gave the Americans everything they wanted, absolutely everything in term of money, trade, they can sell anything like here, they can invest anything here, they can have airlines here til it comes out our ears. They can own land. Why would the Americans give us anything? This whole anti-nuclear thing and the ships argument is built up all the time as some sort of great political issue between the parties and what's going to happen and how we can make the thing go away ...
Look, we could get a nuclear weapon and put it on hire trailer and take it around A and P shows all around New Zealand, and it wouldn't give us a free trade agreement. It is absolutely irrelevant.
What inducement is there for the United States to allow us to go and do possible harm to their beef and farming communities ...
Lange also weighs on on some differences between Australia and New Zealand, especially in the relationship with the US;
But there is a difference between our relationships with Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Helen Clark is not some kind of pilot fish bobbing along next to George Bush as John Howard is. It is just a different mindset. We have a different view of our relationships with big powers. The Australasian aspiration is to be - as Bob Hawke used to say - this great nation. And they have that mindset. They are happy to be described by George Bush as the sheriff of Asia whereas it would be a profound embarrassment to most sensible people in the immediate area.
I find it embarrassing as well. Howard has shown over nine years he does not understand "Greater Australia". All his actions have been of a politician suffering from the "cultural cringe" or the "political cringe". Unlike the modern Australian Diaspora, who are comfortable and humbly confident on the world stage - Howard is afflicted with a flinch unless backed by the US, politically, economically, militarily and culturally. It is a mindset unfit for an Australian Prime Minister. This Menzonian world-view leads to grave mistakes such as Iraq and embarrassments such as the meme of Australia being the deputy sheriff in the pacific - a local vehicle for US interests. No wonder wider Asia treats us like we have the plague.
Shame Howard, shame.
The Australian Iraq lie
The Australian media is reporting Senator Hill's announcements on changes in the make up of the Australian Iraq contingent like they will change the future of Iraq. These are politically motivated moves, done to try and create a wedge and weakness in Latham's Iraq pronouncements. If you read the Australian media you would think that the changes were world stopping. From the SMH article entitled
Australia extends military commitment to Iraq
The Federal Government yesterday committed fresh troops to Iraq, taking Australia's involvement in the strife-torn country well into 2005.
Wow. That is pretty amazing, Howard is finally putting himself into a position where he isn't dependent on American policy being the sole decider on the outcome of a stable government and ordered civil society in Iraq. But ... no;
The 53-strong Australian Army contingent training Iraqis for their own military and police force will be extended for another six months.
A new training squad of 50 to 60 soldiers from Townsville will leave for Iraq in the next few weeks. The second army training team will overlap the existing squad for six weeks..
That is a grand total of sixty more troops. or it would be if sixty-five air traffic controllers working Baghdad airport weren't being brought back to Australia. What a sham. What a waste of time this government indulges itself in. The rhetoric is putrid. Australia is still a cork on the international ocean of American interests. It has done nothing to create itself as an independent and autonomous political entity. But don't worry, Howard is on the case, he weighed in on the monumental international crisis with the firm resolution that the Pacific Islands should have a super-12 team.
Phoenix Eats Out
is the restaurant review site for Phoenix
and Old Town Scottsdale
which lists the modernist and contemporary restaurants, taverns and bars in the greater Phoenix area.
This is the list of the most popular restaurants pages from phoenixeatsout.com that have been viewed the most;
My personal favourite restaurants in Phoenix are AZ88
, Humble Pie
, Orange Table
, The Vig
and others coming close behind. View the complete list with the photo-journalistic style images on phoenixeatsout.com
Arizona is an outdoor state and has lots of hiking in the city and around the state. Phoenix is unusual for most cities in having several large mountains in the center of the city with great hiking. Anyone who comes to Phoenix has to do the Echo Canyon trail on Camelback
and the Summit Hike on Squaw Peak
or Piesta Peak. The views of the city, suburbs and surrounding mountains are wonderful from Camelback and Piesta Peak.
For more experienced hikers there is the McDowell Mountains in North Scottsdale that has several difficult and strenuous hikes in Tom's Thumb
and Bell Pass
. Alternatively, you can hike the highest mountain in Arizona. At 12,600 feet Humphrey's Peak
is a long and difficult hike.
Between 2004 and 2009 this site, southsearepublic.org
, was a constitutional blog based on scoop which focused on Australian and global constitutional issues.
One of the strongest aspects of it was the development of constitutions by those involved in the blog. These constitutions are the outcome:
The constitutions were built using principles from Montesquieu's separation of powers, the enlightnment's universal political rights and the ancient Athenian technology of sortition and choice by lot.
I am an Australian living in the United States as a permanent resident.
I am a software developer by trade and mostly work in Java and jump between middleware and front end.
I originally worked in the New York area of the United States in telecommunications before moving to Washington DC and
working in a mix of telecommunications, energy and ITS. I started my own software company before heading out to
Arizona and working with Shutterfly. Since then I have joined a startup in the Phoenix area and am thoroughly enjoying myself.
I do a lot of photography which I post on this website, but also on flickr. I have a photo-journalistic website which lists
the modernist and contemporary restaurants in phoenix. I have a site on the Australian Flying Corps [AFC]
which has been around since the 1990s and which I unfortunately
lost the .org URL to during a life event; however, it is under the www.australianflyingcorps.com
The AFC website has gone through several iterations since the 90s and the two most recent are Australian Flying Corps Archives(2004-2002)
Australian Flying Corps Archives(2002-1999)
which are good places to start.