North Queensland separate state cartoon by Harry Bruce.
North Queensland separate state cartoon by Harry Bruce.

Forum to push for state in north

NORTH Queenslanders calling for the creation of a new state have set down the date for a secession forum in Cairns.

Organiser Raj Patel has lined up all of the Katter's Australian Party MPs and is awaiting confirmation from additional speakers ready to make their public case for a breakaway state.

"The whole idea is to make people start thinking about these issues," he said.

"We only have one person in Federal Parliament from Cooktown to Rockhampton.

"We don't even have a senator up here anymore.

"Tasmania has 12 senators and South Australia has 12 senators, and all the funding goes down there."

 

Raj Patel.
Raj Patel.

 

The push is backed up be the highest law in the land.

Section 124 of the Constitution affirms a new state can be established through "separation of territory from a state, but only with the consent of the Parliament thereof".

Queensland was removed from the Colony of New South Wales in 1859 - although it was notably decades before the Constitution's creation.

A proposal to slice away New England from NSW was put to a referendum in 1967 and only narrowly defeated with 54 per cent of electors voting it down.

Australia operates on a concepts of vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalance, whereby the Federal Government raises revenue greater than its spending responsibilities and, in theory, distributes it to states according to need and their ability to raise their own funds.

The idea drives the variable dissemination of the GST between states and territories.

"Since Federation, it's always been that the wealth is distributed evenly," Mr Patel said.

"But the money goes to Brisbane from Canberra on that principle, and never makes its way up here."