Last Tuesday night, I was announced as the winner of the inaugural Per Capita Young Writers' Prize. My essay, "A New Fiscal Federalism?" is reproduced in full below as it was submitted to Per Capita.
Federalism is hardly a hot-button issue in today's political debate, but it is the underlying basis for much of political exchange in Australia, whether we realise it or not.
Tax, services, health, education, infrastructure; all are vital issues premised on a functioning federal system.
Alas functioning, our federal system is not.
The basic premise is this: The states are responsible for delivering most of the nation's services, but it is the Commonwealth that raises the majority of the revenue. This leaves the states in a precarious financial position, constitutionally obliged to deliver vital services such as health and education, but having to beg the Canberra for the funds.
I'd like to offer a big thanks to Per Capita, one of the nation's leading progressive think-tanks. Organisations like Per Capita have a big few years ahead of them, helping to shape the national debate and offer an alternative vision for the country. I'd also like to single out Harold Levien for his generous sponsorship of this prize.
Anyway, have a read. Have a think.