Australian Centre for Federalism



The Centre aims to bring new debates to the study of federalism both in Australia and outside—framed within a fresh comparative approach.


The Australian Centre for Federalism was formed in 2012 to re-establish the ANU as a leading academic institution for the study of comparative federalism, subnational and local politics, and multi-level governance. Its goals are to promote:

  • Public events to bridging academia with policymaking communities
  • Championing the University’s academic courses in the broad field of federalism and multilevel governance
  • Attracting Honors students to research topics in Comparative Federalism, Federalism and Public Policy, and Territorial or Subnational Politics.
  • Building new research communities of and for emerging PhD scholars.
  • Workshops and conferences exploring academic themes around multilevel governance, the study of the politics of federalism, its policy implications, democracy, representation and citizenship.
  • Contributing to ongoing discussions about how to renew federalism in Australia and in other countries around the world.
  • Sharing lessons across countries regarding best practices in fiscal management, territorial representation, good governance, and the role of the judiciary within a multi-level system of governance.

Federal systems are diverse, varying in design, purpose, and in practice. If these varying characteristics matter, it is because of the effects on policy outcomes ranging from the protection of citizenship rights, to social and human development, to environmental protection, and the regulation of industry and natural resources. The centre aims to bring new debates to the study of federalism both in Australia and outside—framed within a fresh comparative approach. Through international collaboration and by working with Australia’s top scholars and federal experts, we aim to contribute to the debate on renewing federalism both at home and in other countries, by sharing experience within and among federations. The current centralizing trend in Australian federalism stands in sharp contrast to other regions around the world currently pursuing diversity in policy and territorially based representation. For scholars interested in the power of local governments from Brazil to Germany, to indigenous politics in Canada and Australia, or, the challenges of multi-level governance and territorial conflict in Europe, this is the centre to showcase your research and ideas and promote debate. We welcome your input and look forward to your future participation within this most recent addition to academic research centers within the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University.

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You can download our December 2019 newsletter here.

Updated:  15 December 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications