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Kelly's attack shows Hawke's federalism policy in disarray

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Senator .Tim Short. Shadow M inister for Finance and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Commonwealth/State Relations

SMF 68/91 8 September 1991


The bitter criticism by Environment Minister Kelly of the Prime Minister's alleged conversion on federalism policies is another indication of the utter disarray within the Government.

The Prime Minister has been claiming for more than a year now that he wants a better sharing of functions between the

Commonwealth and the States, including a significant devolution to the States.

However, virtually nothing has been achieved along these lines. On the contrary, virtually all of the few decisions to have emerged from the Special Premiers' Conferences to date have been in the other direction. They have strengthened the role of the

Commonwealth Government, not lessened it.

Minister Kelly's intemperate outburst about the Prime Minister's alleged approach to federalism supports reports coming to the Coalition that the numerous working groups established by the Special Premiers' Conferences have become bogged down and that

little of substance is likely to emerge from the third Special Conference planned for November.

Mrs Kelly's denials of yesterday's media reports can only be substantiated if she meets the request of the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Mr Fred Chaney, to release the tape of her meeting with conservationists.

Otherwise, on the words of those conservationists, she must stand condemned for sabotaging the Prime Minister's federalism policies from within her portfolio.

Mrs Kelly's bitter criticism also reflects the continuing bitter leadership struggle that is pulling the Government apart and paralysing responsible decision making. Mrs Kelly is one of Mr Keating's few supporters in Cabinet. Her criticisms of the Prime Minister's federalism policy has as much to do with her

undiminished support for Mr Keating's leadership ambitions as it does with any coherent approach to policy formulation.


For further information: Senator Short Ph: 03) 387 4177 or 03) 380 2714 (ah)