Federalism, Childcare and Multilevel Governance in Australia
This chapter outlines the Australian federal compact and an explanation of how it has been transformed, particularly by the growing policy and fiscal dominance of the federal government. It discusses the ways in which feminist activists and scholars have engaged with federalism. The chapter provides feminist activism around childcare is used to explore women's strategic use of the opportunities afforded by multilevel governance (MLG). The reconfiguration of states in the context of globalisation has introduced new challenges for feminists working within systems of MLG. Australian federalism has established distinctive political opportunity structures and constraints for feminists and contributed profoundly to shaping their political activism. The chapter concludes with a discussion of new intergovernmental structures that have drawn much of the policy-making around childcare into the bureaucratic realm. It also considers the impact of corporate interests on the delivery of publicly funded childcare.