Wanna, J 2007, ‘Improving federalism: drivers of change, repair options and reform scenarios’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 66, no. 3, pp. 275 – 279. Purpose (What is the author’s aim? For example, is the piece descriptive or does it summarise the literature or introduce a new argument? Is the author trying to convince, persuade, or inform the reader? Use a verb.) (59) The author aims to inform the reader of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for reform of federalism by summarizing the discussions of the round table held in May 2007.
Argument/Finding (What position did the author take? What were their main points? What are their claims/conclusions?) (75) The focus of debate surrounded federalism and the two positions, pragmatism versus principle. The main themes discussed are, duplication of functions, lack of cooperation, division of financial resources across the layers, costly administrative practice, the effects of globalization, devolution of roles and function and cost shifting between tiers. The review appears to conclude that federalism is not a productive form of governance in Australia yet the recommendations focus heavily on reform of the current system. Evidence (How does the author support their argument /finding? Question the credibility, logic, or empirical basis of what the author has written. The weight of evidence is important. Evidence means the foundation for the argument. Do they have facts or just opinions? How many people’s views are represented? Is it just a few anecdotes from a few people or a major representative survey? Are they drawing on other experts or credible sources?) Page (list the page numbers in the right hand column that relate to the evidence you find) (104) The evidence relied upon is limited. The article is not an academic review, it is a summary report of the roundtable discussion held to review federalism in Australia. The paper refers to “around 50 participants” attending the roundtable, the inability of the author to state the number of attendees in the discussion highlights the lack of detailed evidence provided throughout the report. Wanna states all three levels of Government view federalism as a malaise. This is poorly evidenced, as Local Government was not represented. When discussing options for repairing the system the author fails to quantify the support and relies on generalist statements only.
Observations (What is your assessment of the reading? Write evaluative or judgemental comments. This is where you give your view or ‘critical analysis’. For example, only one side of the case is put forward, or the author’s employment status precludes critical analysis of the issues. Consider whether the author is biased or is promoting a particular ideology. See Section 5 of this guide for further advice). (116) The purpose of the paper is not clearly defined, it does not draw any clear conclusions about the approach required, it appears to conclude that federalism is not a viable form of governance, this is however inadequately stated or supported. The paper does not provide insight into the author’s viewpoint on the issues discussed. The paper is not a piece of academic literature it is a summary of discussions held at the roundtable and therefor lacks structure and clarity of purpose, it fails to adequately support either position and at times contradicts itself. The author fails to critically analyse the roundtable issues, and does not provide sufficient supporting documentation or review to support a position. The complex language used in the piece makes it difficult to read and the intent of the paper is lost somewhat as a result. Wanna does not convey a position. Federalism is stuffed but all the suggestions for reform focus around the improvement of the current structure. Other relevant or related readings (Find and provide full citations for at least two other...
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