Equal Representation – The 7th State!
The Queensland Parliament:
Queensland is the only State in Australia with no Upper House in its Parliament to act as a check and balance on Government action. Queensland had two Houses until 1922. On the 5thMay 1917, a referendum was held on whether to abolish the upper house (the Legislative Council). The vote was lost by a 60:40 majority – i.e. 179,105 Queenslanders voted against the abolition of the Council and 116,196 voted for its removal. Despite this, in 1922 when the Theodore Labor Government gained control of both Houses, it voted to abolish it. With no check on manipulation of electoral laws, there were then only three changes of government from 1922 to 1989. In 1989, the Fitzgerald Inquiry exposed systems of government in complete decay. Despite the recommended changes by Tony Fitzgerald, when the Campbell Newman LNP government took office in 2012, with a majority 79 out of 89 seats, the north wore the brunt of cut, slash and retrench policies. The hiatus of the Newman government’s reign led Tony Fitzgerald to comment in 2015:
“With its single house of parliament, no bill of rights, and history of political malpractice, the state is extremely vulnerable to the misuse of power.” – Tony Fitzgerald SC, 29 Jan 2015
We want our own Parliament – designed by us, for us!
The Federal Parliament:
The first vote for Australia’s colonies to become one nation occurred in 1898. Queenslanders did not vote in this referendum! Why? Because North and Central Queensland wanted to become separate States. The vote in 1898 was nevertheless defeated in NSW. To rescue the federation model, the six colonial Premiers met in 1899 to make changes to the draft Constitution. At the initiative of the Queensland Premier, Sir James Dickson, an amendment was made to s.7 of the Constitution to allow Senators in Queensland to be elected on a regional basis. Today, s.7 paragraph 2 of the Constitution provides: “ .. until the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides, the Parliament of the State of Queensland, if that State be an Original State, may make laws dividing the State into divisions and determining the number of senators to be chosen for each division, and in the absence of such provision the State shall be one electorate. …”. In 1983, the Hawke Government passed legislation blocking the opportunity for s.7 of the Constitution to take effect. Today, from above the Tropic of Capricorn there are 7 members in the Federal Parliament representing around 980,000 people. Tasmania on the other hand, has around 541,000 people and 17 members in the Federal Parliament. If we become a new State this will change.
As a new State, we want the Senate representation we were promised in s.7 of the Constitution!
The North and South are not equal!
We in the North are not equal –
- Money that is earned in the North does not stay in the North!
- We pay nearly twice the price for our home insurances.
- Our roads are not adequate, and nor are they equal to those in the South.
- Laws do not apply equally – e.g. Shark nets in the South East are used to protect ocean users. Crocodiles in the north are not managed!
- Kids in the north do not have the same opportunities as those in the south.
- Our sporting team are disadvantaged because of where they live. Yet the Cowboys are proof that given opportunity our sports people are as good as any in the nation.