Extract from interview with Petrice Judge,
Assistant Director General, Federal and Constitutional Affairs in the Ministry
of Premier and Cabinet, Western Australia.
CF Can you tell me about the way in which the money is negotiated for the States? How do you go about the negotiations with the Commonwealth?
JUDGE: The negotiations are led by
officials within my team which is Federal Constitutional Affairs. We would
establish what is the West Australian position on a negotiation and we
work with officials from other departments so we have an across-government
position. Then we go off to Commonwealth/State meetings and they're always
held in the eastern States so involve two days of travel for poor old
West Australians to attend.
We get there and we will find that often there has been an allegiance
formed between Sydney, Melbourne and the Commonwealth officials, and so
they will in a large part drive the agenda and we may find that perhaps
there's been a secret deal done.
A good example would be of Medicare negotiations. The Commonwealth did
a secret deal with Victoria and New South Wales which involved an efficiency
dividend. That money that was given in addition to New South Wales and
Victoria was to come out of the amount that was to go to the rest of the
States. We were not very happy with that but we find that we're very much
powerless to really stand up for our rights and say, "Well perhaps
we should be getting our fair share of this." The deal has already
been done. Those are the more populated States and they seem to in some
way be gaining to the detriment particularly of Western Australia.
The other thing that happens is that when there is some Commonwealth money
that's available for them to distribute directly to various State projects
we find that less than 10% comes to Western Australia. We would expect
on a per capita basis that we should be entitled to about 10% of any money
that's going, and we don't necessarily get that.
Petrice Judge, February 2000
[Battye Library, OH3014]