Radical call to split Australian state in two
Eccentric federal politician Bob Katter says it's time for north Queensland to break away from the state and become a territory.
The long-serving MP said he would call for a referendum at the 2024 local government elections on north Queensland being a sovereign territory in its own right.
He said it was illogical for the north of the state to be beholden to decisions made by Brisbane-based politicians who are "1500 kilometres away".
"We are the only area on earth where nearly one-million people are governed by a government 1500 kilometres away," he told reporters in Thursday.
"This can't continue.
"You don't have your government 1500km away because nothing will ever happen. You will be out of sight, out of mind."
His plan includes approaching every local north Queensland authority to have a referendum that asks "whether north Queensland becomes a separate territory".
"Let us say a separate territory to start with as a forerunner to becoming a state," he said.
Mr Katter said the north was a prosperous region that would boom under its own steam and had the potential to be the richest place on earth.
"If north Queensland was a separate country it would be the richest country on earth," he said.
"With all its coal, the bulk of Australia's copper, silver, lead and zinc deposits, almost all of our bauxite, and it would be the wettest country on earth.
"And yet the governments in Canberra and Brisbane have failed to recognise this."
He spoke of the inequality of the southeast of the state compared to the top end and that north Queensland had "absolutely" no say in state parliament.
All but four MPs, he said, in the north of the state were controlled by the major parties which in turn were controlled, run by or exist purely for Brisbane.
The passionate 75-year-old career politician said even if north Queensland was allowed to break away it would not deny Queensland the right to coal royalties.
"Most of the coal is in north Queensland and that's why I am saying territory because I am not going to steal that revenue off Brisbane," he said.
Mr Katter's bold proposal comes just five days after a Victorian MP suggested a new "super state" comprising regional parts of Victoria and NSW.
The state's Parliamentary Budget Office published the radical policy proposal last Friday after state Liberal Democrats MP for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty requested "independent advice" about the "economic character" of a new state.
Major Victorian regional centres such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Mildura, Wodonga and Shepparton would be included in the new state, alongside NSW hubs such as Wagga Wagga, Albury, Orange, Bathurst and Griffith, according to the report.
Originally published as Radical call to split Australian state in two