In recent times, Australian educational policy makers have been attracted to the concept of national consistency as a guiding principle for the school curriculum. The reasons for this attraction have been analysed and interpreted variously ( Kennedy, 1989; Macpherson, 1990; Bartlett, 1991). Arguments advanced by policy makers in support of national consistency have focussed on the need to facilitate the transfer of students across education systems, the need to reduce duplication of effort and the need to utilise scarce financial resources more efficiently. These arguments may have some social and economic validity but it has always been difficult to regard them as serious grounds for concerted national action. Such arguments also pale into insignificance when compared with genuine national priorities. All young Australian men and women, for example, should be guaranteed access to knowledge, skills and attitudes relating to HIV/AIDS irrespective of where they live or where they go to school. The need to develop school based HIV/AIDS education programs, therefore, provides a compelling reason for adopting a national approach to this aspect of the school curriculum. Mechanisms to facilitate national approaches to curriculum have been in place in Australia since at least 1973 but particularly since 1988 (Kennedy, 1992). The support of Australian policy makers for national approaches to curriculum provided the context for the Australian component of a larger project seeking to compare policy structures used to facilitate school based HIV/AIDS education programs in Australia and Canada. The Australian study has attempted to describe and analyse the formal policy structures used in a Federal system of government that since 1983 has promoted cooperative federalism as a policy mechanism to deal with a range of educational issues. This paper reports on the outcomes of that study.