The National Cabinet and COVID-19: a new future for federal relations?

Image of parliament in Canberra, ACT

When COVID-19 became a global pandemic in March 2020, Australia was still dealing with the fallout from a catastrophic bushfire season. With little time to avoid large numbers of casualties and health system collapse. State and territory governments moved relatively swiftly to enact containment measures but then had to manage significant economic and social fallout. The crisis prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to establish a National Cabinet of state, territory and federal leaders in March 2020 to coordinate Australia’s response. It would eventually replace the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) as the nation’s peak intergovernmental forum but not without facing some serious disputes.

This Case explores the history of the National Cabinet, its strengths and weaknesses and assesses its potential as a vehicle for future reforms beyond COVID-19.

Please note this case has a Teaching Note associated with it. To access a copy, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a request and citing the title.

  • Authors: Marinella Padula
  • Published Date: 12 October 2021
  • Author Institution: ANZSOG
  • Featured Content Length: 24
  • Content Length: 24
  • Product Type: One-part case

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