Federal Govt should rein in states over foreign policy


By Andrew Carr*

While there is a diversity of views on Victoria’s Belt and Road Initiative agreement with Beijing, there seems to be universal agreement on a solution: the federal government should simply assert its constitutional prerogative and regain full control of the nation’s foreign policy. That horse has, however, long since bolted.

In the first half of the 20th century, Australia’s diplomacy was conducted out of the prime minister’s office. In the second half of the century, the RG Casey building and the Department of External Affairs (now the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) became involved. In the 21st century, Australia’s diplomacy is shaped by every state capital in the country.

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