Six Cairns residents formed Boot Brisbane to create a new state for North and Central Queensland, which is to say that we want to change the political landscape of the nation. Rag tag bunch of misfits we were called. Boot Brisbane’s President disliked the slur but the other chaps and I loved and owned it. Forming a new state will bring back competitive Federalism. States are supposed to compete with each other to attract citizens, innovators and investors. States acting cooperatively and collectively to solve problems sounds wonderful in principle, but it swiftly results in a race to the bottom where State governments, both politicians and unelected bureaucrats who do the day to day governing focus on cooperating with colleagues in other States rather than acting in the best interests of the State’s people.
This prejudicial shoddiness should not come as a surprise. Competition, with its struggling and striving is risky, hard work. It’s much easier to set up comfortable cartels of incompetence like COAG and dress up lazy ineptitude as cooperation. We are a threat to these cartels. Our success will inspire movements in other states. The excellent David Flint mentioned us on Sky News’s The Outsiders saying that after Brisbane is booted, he’d like to see movements to Sack Sydney and Mug Melbourne. Bernard Salt has assisted with comments, advice and guidance. Rag tag misfits we may be, but we are gaining allies and making it happen. It’s going to be a game changer. Not just for Queensland, but the nation.
We want representation, empowerment, autonomy and control. Of the ninety-three state electorates in Queensland, seventy-three are within a 250 kilometre radius of Brisbane’s CBD. Even if the remaining twenty politicians united around geography and regional empowerment rather than party lines they would still be up against the critical mass of politicians in the South East. Twenty representatives for thousands of square kilometres and around a million people. This really is systematic disempowerment. For Northern electorates that are disproportionately or in the case of the Far Northern electorate Cook, mainly indigenous this is clear, real, unarguable systematic disempowerment of remote, isolated indigenous Queenslanders.
No disrespect to the member for Cook, nor is this about party politics. Even if she was the most influential member in Parliament, one voice in ninety-three means those indigenous people, along with truly isolated primary producers and remote small business people really do not have any adequate representation on the legislation that governs their daily lives. It makes no difference who wins the seat.
It’s the same for the other nineteen electorates outside the South East. Central and North Queenslanders no longer really have adequate representation on issues that affect us and we don’t control where the wealth we create goes. There’s only three options:
Gerrymander. Fix the distortion of democracy caused by the critical mass of electorates in the South east by giving some people’s vote a weighted value using racial, socio-economic or just geographic criteria.
Second, suck it up. Tolerate the rule of those who assure us they know better. They tell us we need their civilising hands, their transcendent minds and universal principles. Continue to allow the black hole that is Brisbane to extract power, wealth and control from the regions. Ignore examples of dysfunctional, distended, undemocratic, unworkable political unions like the E.U., U.N. and Communist China.
Third; Form a new State. Put the demos back into democracy. A smaller political body will mean real representation. Elected representatives in hitherto ignored constituencies will actually have a say in parliament.
I don’t understand why more regional MPs are not behind this. North and Central Queenslanders can only imagine a world where talking to the local MP made a difference. Where MPs address issues rather than explain why something is politically unachievable because the seventy-three in the South-East wouldn’t approve. If regional MPs didn’t know before they went to parliament, they soon learn the bloated political entity that is Queensland achieves only one thing without fail; facilitating the funnelling of power and wealth from the regions into the already bloated, obese capital. New State MPs could actually make change, become relevant and be respected elected representatives rather than hated excuse-making politicians.
Boot Brisbane is growing. In size, professionalism and impact. We have over 2000 on our email list and good numbers following our facebook page. One of our recent posts got in the tens of thousands of ‘Shares’. We’ve held over ten profile raising events. First was in Cairns itself. Dave Pellowe spoke there and has since appeared on our Podcast Northern Vibe. Next event was in the Atherton Tablelands. We’ve gone as far West as Mount Isa, all along the East coast; Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone and as far South as Bundaberg. We’re forming branches. Regional media, surprisingly even the ABC loves us. We are allied with other New State organisations. These alliances, along with increasing profile and supporters has enabled us to start moving into the next strategic phase. The differing organisations are going to maintain their autonomy and focus on different aspects, functions and issues. Like the way the Federation itself is supposed to work, we are going to maintain our autonomy and decision making, but unite under a broad set of aims and principles.
The new State will happen within ten years. I’m putting out a call to all readers; join our rag tag bunch of misfits. Even if you’re in the old state of New South Queensland, there are real benefits. There will be smaller electorates. Your parliament will have to take your food production, wealth creation and water security seriously, empowering regional MPs. Urban MPs will focus on local issues and problems rather than projecting their world views on us Northerners. There are very few times in history where people can actually make a difference and make their mark. NQexit, the new Central and North Queensland State is coming. Wherever you are, become part of the movement and join the revolution.
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Matthew Moloney has been mentioned in State Parliament for work in the area of Indigenous relations and is a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow. He has co-authored a book ‘Aborigine Trail’, and also has articles published in other journals.