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A fractured federation? How the closing of state borders in the Covid crisis has raised old quarrels

I fancy myself a federationist, but when Victoria closed down, I am ashamed to admit that the old serpent of NSW schadenfreude re-awoke in me

Last time there was a national cabinet in Australia, I was a somewhat dyslexic six-year-old to nine-year-old and the nation was in great peril. And even then the national war cabinets were not along the lines of the Covid national cabinet – the states were beneath making war policy and had no part in it.

Since those days I have seen a gradual accretion of powers to the federal sphere. There was certainly no federal health ministry at federation and, at the last pandemic in 1918-19, quarantine seemed to be the chief health business the federal government was engaged in. A formal federal health ministry was not brought into being until after the pandemic in 1921. As for a federal education ministry, it came into being in 1968, and the first minister was John Gorton.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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