Big coun­try

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - OPINION - SHANE NI­CHOLS EDI­TOR, PORT DOU­GLAS AND MOSS­MAN GAZETTE shane.ni­chols@news.com.au

BRIS­BANE feels as far away as Can­berra.

It’s small won­der that the idea of a sep­a­rate state for North Queens­land bub­bles along in the back­ground, oc­ca­sion­ally putting its head up for air thanks to some­one like Bob Katter who has sup­ported this idea in the past.

Mr Katter how­ever un­der­stands the for­bid­ding tech­ni­cal chal­lenges in bring­ing this idea to re­al­ity, and in­stead opts for the no­tion of “home rule”, like they have in Scot­land.

So we’d have a wee lit­tle patch of our own, of sorts, up here in FNQ, ex­cept it would still be big­ger many other coun­tries in their en­tirety. It doesn’t re­ally solve any­thing. An ex­pert this week pointed to how a sep­a­rate could be cre­ated ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Con­sti­tu­tion. It would take noth­ing less than an ex­plo­sion of power peo­ple de­mand­ing an elected con­ven­tion on the mat­ter (which would in­volve the en­tire Com­m­mon­wealth of course).

De­spite a groundswell to­wards more parochial rule th­ese days, and a move away from cen­tral­ism – be­cause in­di­vid­u­als feel they are ne­glected – it is still hard to see the nec­es­sary pop­u­lar sup­port win­ning the day on this one. Which is a shame. Of course, if it ever came to pass, then there’d still be no end of lo­cal fights. Eg, where would the cap­i­tal be?

But at the mo­ment, mat­ters to do with the Far North are un­der the sway of Bris­bane in­ner city vot­ers, like the Greens who can vote out deputy pre­mier Jacky Trad next time with just an­other 455 votes — lately they have com­mu­ni­cated that fact very strongly as they par­tic­i­pate in the Adani de­bate.

In­ter­fer­ence by south­ern con­ser­va­tion­ists – mis­guid­edly – in the Paws and Claws mat­ter is a sharp il­lus­tra­tion.

Aus­tralia is a highly gov­erned so­ci­ety and urg­ing the cre­ation of yet more politi­cians goes against the grain. But it’s a big coun­try too, and the peo­ple away from the cap­i­tals strug­gle to be heard and ap­pre­ci­ated.

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