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Australian Prime Minister Cedes Too Much Power To States, Says Labor Party

Labor leader Anthony Albanese is worried the economic reform and productivity agenda has disappeared under Scott Morrison.

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian Labor leader Anthony Albanese says Scott Morrison has given up too much of the federal government’s power to the states, and he would rebalance this under a Labor government.

“My concern is that this is the first period in decades in which there’s been a transfer of power to the states away from the Commonwealth,” the Labor leader told a business forum in Canberra on June 24.

“With a bit of national leadership, there could have been more consistency, but there was a conscious decision to give up responsibility.”

Albanese said axing the Council of Australian Governments and putting in place a “national cabinet” meant the broader economic reform and productivity agenda had disappeared.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia.

Anthony Albanese says Scott Morrison has given up too much of the federal government’s power to the states. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

The members of the council are the Prime Minister, state and territory First Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The Prime Minister chairs the council.

The council was established in 1992. Its role is to manage matters of national significance or matters that need coordinated action by all Australian governments.

“I do worry about that,” he said, “I’m concerned that when you give up power and influence, which is what has happened, it’s very difficult to get it back.”

He underlined Labor’s pandemic message that the national government is responsible for customs, immigration, and quarantine.

“The idea that state governments are in charge of who comes into Australia, and how many, is quite frankly absurd,” he said.

“But you’ve had a conscious decision by Scott Morrison to not take responsibility because that’s a way of avoiding blame.”

However, looking at the things he did choose to take responsibility for, such as the rollout of the vaccine, that might have been a good idea, Albanese said.

A federal election is due within a year.

Anthony Norman Albanese is an Australian politician serving as Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Australian Labor Party since 2019. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image)

Anthony Norman Albanese is an Australian politician serving as Leader of the Opposition and leader of the Australian Labor Party since 2019. He has been a Member of Parliament for Grayndler since 1996.

The Australian Labor Party, also simply known as Labor and historically spelled Labour, is the major center-left political party in Australia, one of two major parties in Australian politics, along with the center-right Liberal Party of Australia.

The Australian Local Government Association is the principal organization representing all 537 Local Government councils in Australia and acts as the independent interest body for Australian local mayors, councilors and local government employees.

(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Ritaban Misra)

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