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The administration of Tasmania : its origins, development and future direction

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Kavanagh, W D(William Dudley) (1986) The administration of Tasmania : its origins, development and future direction. Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

We owe much to tradition in the form and practice of
our political and administrative institutions, tradition
which we have largely inherited from the United Kingdom.
Tradition is, at once, both the repository of our
experiences and the foundation from upon which we reach out
to our future. Perhaps nowhere is tradition more
exemplified than in the military. The pagentry which is
displayed on the Horse Guards Parade in London during the
Trooping of the Colour before the Monarch is steeped in
tradition. But there it stops. The colourful uniforms,
which were once so necessary for recognition on the
battlefield became a liability and are today discarded save
for ceremonial duties. This is one lesson to be learned
from experience and from history. Tradition, important as
it is in providing a secure base and national identity,
cannot be allowed to become fixed in a concrete of past
experiences, in which the past itself dictates the forward
direction rather than acting as a pointer to it. Some of
those British political and administrative practices upon
which ours are based have themselves actually altered in the
years intervening since Federation and are no longer
applicable in the United Kingdom itself. A most significant
example is the loss of reserve power(s) by the House of Lords
in 1911 and which the Australian Upper Houses still
retain, such as the ability to block Supply (Queensland
excepted). In this sense we are now "more British than the
British themselves", they having moved along this path of
political evolution at a faster pace than Australia.
For Tasmania there are a number of lessons to be
drawn from this approach to tradition. The Island State
occupies a unique position within the Federation in that, it
alone, is a separated, offshore member of the Commonwealth.
In its size, population and relationship to its neighbouring
landmass it has only a very few equivalents elsewhere in the
World (one such being Newfoundland). It has a small but
well distributed population which is actually disadvantaged
by this very fact in the provision of major community
services such as tertiary education and central medical
facilities. Furthermore, the population base is too small to
be an economically self sustaining industrial unit. The
economies of scale do not exist. Its sea communications
with the other States are disadvantaged when compared to
other countries trading with Australia, because the sea
trade passes, twice, (not once as in the case of foreign
imports) through some of the most expensive ports in the
Asian region and it is carried on some of the most
expensively operated ships in the World. Inter-State air
transport likewise has to bear the full impost of
substantial domestic air navigation and airport charges
together with full excise on fuel. New Zealand, by contrast
can trade with mainland Australia on relatively favourable
terms (as compared with Tasmania) under the provisions of
the Closer Economic Relations Agreement, and largely because
of these factors. Moreover, in a Country which has a
Federally funded National Roads Programme linking the other
States, airports are now either being transferred (as are
seaports already) to local ownership or to a "User Pays"
status. Notwithstanding that the user pays there is no
corresponding opportunity for control by users of airport
operations, efficiency or costs. In Commerce, the explosion
of electronic communications, accounting and banking has in
recent years seen the rapid transfer of economic control
over Tasmanian Industry and Commerce to Mainland centres.
Apart from any distortions which this might cause in the
local Capital Market, it further disadvantages the State by
affecting its (Federal) taxation base.
Many of these disadvantaging factors, and
particularly air transport, were not even concepts at the
time of Federation and of the drafting of the Commonwealth
Constitution. Most have been recognised and documented, by
Callaghan (1977) (3), and by others, including this writer,
(1968) (4) Others, such as sea transport which once
represented a cost advantage, are now costly disadvantages.
The challenge then is for Tasmania to be more
efficient, more effective, and economically more attractive,
than are the other States. This much is obvious, less so is
the answer. The writer postulates that we can only meet this
challenge by critically reviewing our political and
administrative institutions and machinery. We should try to
learn from the best aspects of other systems whilst keeping
the best of our own. It is in that context that this
Dissertation is offered for consideration.

Item Type: Thesis (Coursework Master)
Keywords: Local government
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1986 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1987. Bibliography: leaves 116-123

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:31
Last Modified: 08 May 2017 03:43
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