Queensland Parliament has voted against the idea of splitting Queensland into two states — but if Rob Katter has his way, the debate is just getting started.
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) put the motion forward in Parliament last Thursday.
The proposed split is allowed by the constitution — section 124 allows a state parliament to approve such a separation — but the motion was soundly defeated in Parliament, 82 to 3.
Katter’s beef springs from his annoyance that mining royalties, derived from the north, are not being spent there.
Katter told Parliament that north and western Queensland are not being fairly represented under the current set-up.
“We only have one senator left, while there are 12 in Tasmania, which represents a smaller population and a significantly smaller gross domestic product,” he said.
Katter said a number of laws passed by Parliament might be best for metropolitan areas, but are not suited to regional areas.
“The one-size-fits-all legislation doesn’t work,” he said.
Though 42 Government MPs and 28 Opposition MPs voted against the motion (the other Opposition MPs didn’t cast a vote, and Independent MP Billy Gordon abstained), Katter did receive some support from outside the KAP — Cairns independent MP Rob Pyne voted for the split.
“The people of north Queensland are fortunate to have strong representation through the crossbenchers in this Parliament, but what worries me is we could go back to one of the big Brisbane-based parties running this Parliament and we know when that happens the voice of the north is not heard down here,” he said.
“If we’re all going to be Queenslanders surely we are entitled to the same level of service.
“By no barometer, by no measure, could the people in this House say the people of my city receive the same level of services as the people in south-east Queensland.”
Treasurer Curtis Pitt, the MP for Mulgrave in far north Queensland, told Parliament that the split could not realistically be funded.
“There’s been much talk about how much the north produces in terms of royalties and gross state product, without any discussion of how much it would cost to run the necessary health, education, police and emergency services,” he said.
Mr Pitt also pointed out that, if the state’s Origin team was to split in two, North Queensland Cowboys halfback Jonathan Thurston would quality for Queensland South.
So we know the government is against the split — but what do you think? Would you support the creation of a separate state of North Queensland?
Vote in our poll and have your say in the comments below!