Some of Australia’s leading academic experts on federalism will link up with key government officials in Brisbane on Friday for the Sir Samuel Griffith Symposium on Australia’s Federal Future.

The one-day event, run by Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and hosted by Griffith University, will examine the federation as it works today and investigate the need for and potential implementation of reform.

  • WHAT: Sir Samuel Griffith Symposium on Australia’s Federal Future
  • WHERE: Brisbane Entertainment and Convention Centre
  • WHEN: Friday, July 26, 10am

Dean of ANZSOG, Professor Gary Banks, will set proceedings in motion just after 10am when he outlines the aims and objectives of the symposium to government officials from four states and two territories, and academics from nine Australian universities.

“The benefits of federalism are not always as well known as they should be. Internationally it is recognised as a system that can meet local needs while also responding to global pressures,” Professor Banks said.

“But the dynamics between State, Territory and the Australian governments and the allocation of responsibilities and resources is constantly evolving.

“Our system is struggling with questions about who should do what at each level and the best way to achieve good outcomes over time.”

George Williams, Professor of Law at UNSW, will present a plenary session addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the Australian Federation.

Andrew Tongue from the Victorian Department of the Premier and Cabinet will present a senior official’s perspective on federalism.

Senior officials from the Department of the Premier in Queensland, NSW, South Australia and Tasmania will also be in attendance, as will be the Deputy CEO at the Northern Territory Department of the Chief Minister. The Department of the Prime Minister will also be represented.

Associate Professor Anne Tiernan from Griffith University’s School of Government and International Relations will facilitate the afternoon session behind closed doors, when ideas and proposals emanating from earlier in the day are drawn out and built on.

“The world has changed immensely since the Australian federation was formed,” Associate Professor Tiernan said.

“By addressing the inefficiencies which have evolved during a century, we may be better placed to create intergovernmental architecture to foster and enshrine collaboration between the three levels of government.”

A summary paper will be developed by ANZSOG and Griffith University capturing key insights about reform needs and opportunities.

This will inform a broader discussion of federalism at a follow-up event, the inaugural Sir Samuel Griffith Forum later in the year.