Down in Western Australia, there are ‘Westies’ who have long talked about their own independent nation – a kind of modern-day Wexit from the rest of the country.
Indeed, the concept of secession from the rest of Australia has been a part of mainly fringe politics since the early 1900s. Its supporters have always argued that isolated WA contributes more to the coffers of Australia than it receives in return.
WA referendum in 1930s
In 1933 there was even a referendum to decide whether the state should go its own way.
In June this year, four activists from the New Westralia secessionist movement were arrested when they broke into a historic courthouse in the state.
And, given the level of self-imposed isolation that the state currently finds itself in as a result of coronavirus border closures – without disintegrating into an economic basket case – there are some people who are saying that this is further evidence that WA could in fact go it alone.
Qld MP pushes his plans
Over on the east coast, there’s now a move afoot to create a separate North Queensland state that would be independent from the southern part of Queensland.
Although not, it must be emphasised, independent from the rest of Australia. So a kind of mini-Quexit.
In an interview published on the News.com.au website, the MP for Whitsunday and since last year leader of his own North Queensland First party, Jason Costigan, has outlined his plans to push for a Quexit.
We’re getting the crumbs
‘Costo’, as he likes to be known, said the idea of a breakaway state has been touted since 1865, but the folk from the northern part of the Sunshine State have now finally had enough of being told what to do by the pesky powers-that-be down south in faraway Brisbane.
“People up here aren’t stupid, they know we’re getting the crumbs when it comes to infrastructure and funding — despite us having a $70-billion economy and a population of around one million people,” he told the website.
He believes that despite the billions the region makes from the mining, sugar, cattle and tourism industries, many towns and communities across North Queensland are “dying”.
According to Costo, major roads like the Bruce Highway are filled with cracks, hospitals can’t perform basic services like maternity or renal dialysis, and services are so poor that corpses are having to be transported up to 1,000km for autopsies.
Costo wants a Reef State
“The government in the south-east of the state is sucking the life out of north and central Queensland, and it will continue to [do so] until there’s a 21st-century version of a civil war, unless we finally do something about it,” he said.
His plan now is to push for a referendum on the idea of creating a newly independent entity called Reef State.
“They (the current state government in Brisbane) give us these ridiculous and absurd laws,” he lamented.
Premier Costo of Reef State? Why not.