Wild plan to create new Australian state
First Western Australia wanted out of the federation with their "WAexit" plan, now it looks like another plan to re-draw the map of Australia is gathering up a major head of steam.
With a proposed title of the "Reef State", the idea is to give "North Queensland" the powers to make its own laws and split the current Sunshine State in two.
The wild plan is a major policy platform for Queensland's newest party - North Queensland First - which was set up just was set up just 12 months ago by member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan.
He told news.com.au he used be ridiculed by his former Liberal National Party colleagues when they'd go for beers outside Brisbane's Parliament House and he'd bring up the idea of North Queensland going out on its own.
However, Mr Costigan believes that if his plan to have a referendum on the split by 2020 ever makes it, he'll be the one having the last laugh.
The breakaway is not a new idea - Mr Costigan claims it has been touted by some from as far back as 1865 - but he reckons northern Queenslanders have finally had enough of being told what to do by their southern neighbours.
He says they want to be able to "shoot crocodiles and burn coal" without being lectured to by the city-dwellers in Brisbane.
He reckons North Queenslander are also getting a raw deal.
"People up here aren't stupid, they know we're getting the crumbs when it comes to infrastructure and funding - despite us having a $70 billion economy and a population of around one million people" he said.
He said that despite the billions the region makes from the mining, sugar, cattle and tourism industries, many towns and communities across North Queensland are "dying".
He said major roads like the Bruce Highway are filled with cracks, hospitals can't perform basic services like maternity or renal dialysis and services are so poor that bodies are having to be transported up to 1000km for autopsies.
"The government in the southeast of the state is the sucking the life out of north and central Queensland, and it will continue to until there's a 21st century version of a civil war unless we finally do something about it.
He said coronavirus recession has only made things worse.
"There's a lot of noise coming from the gold fields and the cane fields because the wheels have fallen off," he said. "A lot of people are struggling. They are wondering how they can they get a job, how they get ahead and how they're going to pay the bills."
He believes North Queensland could turn itself around by making its own laws instead of having to accept the "mumbo jumbo laws" and "red tape" conjured up by the two major parties in Brisbane.
He wants to see concrete poured on projects like the Urannah Dam and coal mines, but he says a "green" agenda from the Queensland parliament is holding them back.
He also claims there is also a big cultural difference between the southeast of the state and those in the north.
"There's a difference in people, people in Brisbane have more in common with Sydney people than people in Airlie Beach for example," he said.
"But the attitude is Brisbane knows best. I call bulls**t. That's why they give us these ridiculous and absurd laws that don't effect them but they effect us in big way."
But it's not only North Queenslanders who Mr Costigan claims will benefit from the proposed breakaway.
"We are a continent as well as a country. We should have more states," he said. "And the immigration will just continue into in our cities, so we're going to end up as a nation of five big cities and I don't think that's good for the nation. It's dumb."
Mr Costigan admits he's go a "political mountain the size of Everest or Kilimanjaro" to climb before his dream of an independent Reef State is realised, but he claims now could be the time to make it happen.
The Queensland State Election is just around the corner, and he believes the state could be headed for minority government - meaning prospective crossbenchers might hold the balance of power.
"I don't want people to bitch and whinge about how we're being left behind by southeast Queensland any more," he said. "We should finally do something about it and now is the time strike."
Northern Queenslanders aren't the only ones wanting to make changes to the map of Australia.
Their push comes as coronavirus border restrictions have added support to a plan - stemming from Western Australia - to essentially divide Australia into two nations.
Just last week more than one-in-four West Australians said they want the state to break away from the rest of the country for good in polling from market research group, Utting Research.
They found that 28 per cent of the 3500 Western Australians they spoke to said they'd like to see WA become its own country - a plan unofficially dubbed "WAxit".
The research comes after the state shut itself off from the rest of the nation in April, and has refused to opens its borders ever since.
Perth Labor MP, Patrick Gorman, said the results were "deeply concerning" and that Western Australians feel "isolated and ignored" from the rest of the nation.
"This poll shows those in the eastern states need to understand the secessionist undertones which have always existed in WA," he told The West Australian.
"The tyranny of distance between Perth and Canberra often leaves West Australians feeling isolated and ignored by our east coast allies, fuelling the discussion."
Originally published as Wild plan to create new Australian state