Separating Sovereignty and Sharing Problems: Australian Federalism and the European Union

A. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From its origins in the study of the European Union, the concept of multi-level governance (MLG) can contribute to understanding the capacity for, and barriers to, dynamism and innovation in the Australian federation. By placing the quality of the interactions between different jurisdictions at different spatial scales at the centre of analysis, the concept helps to underpin the argument that constitutional change in formal roles and responsibilities is not sufficient, and may not even be necessary, for reform of Australian federalism. The following steps are made in the paper. The first defines the main elements of MLG and its advantages for extra-constitutional analysis of multi-level policy coordination. The characteristics of MLG observed in contemporary Australian federalism are set out next. The final section presents a critique of the current Reform of the Federation White Paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-418
JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
Issue number4
Early online date3 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • federalism
  • multi-level governance
  • EU


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