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Speaking of States and changing them around, in our Constitution it appears that New Zealand is an Australian State. I'm not sure when it was changed.The man who's creating a United States of Australia
By Denis Gregory
May 11 2003
Australia should be divided into about 20 states, each with its own government of about 40 elected MPs, lawyer and National Party official Bryan Pape believes.
Mr Pape, a senior lecturer in law at the University of New England, wants a national inquiry or royal commission into what he calls a "population imbalance".
Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong in one region and Melbourne, Geelong and Dandenong in another were home for half the people in Australia, he said. This centralisation and its almost exclusive development was hurting regional areas.
Mr Pape, the National Party's new New England Federal Electorate Council chairman, said: "Chapter six of the constitution foresees there would be new states and we need to revisit that area, review the present boundaries and have people elect the members who would legislate issues highly relevant to their region.
"It's putting people in charge of their own affairs."
Mr Pape, who was a barrister in Sydney for 25 years, envisages about 20 states in all, each having Senate representation.
He said it would be up to an inquiry to determine the boundaries but they could be based loosely on existing regions.
"NSW could take in an area along the coast from a point north of Newcastle, Sydney, to the south of Wollongong and extending west to, probably, Bathurst," he said.
"The other states could be New England in the north, Riverina in the south, and probably two others as well as the ACT."
Mr Pape said: "This new state exercise has been going on since pre-federation in Queensland. There was a movement around Rockhampton, which now could become a state along with, say, the Darling Downs and Townsville regions.
"The Northern Territory should become a state and in Western Australia new states could include the Kimberley, Pilbara and Kalgoorlie regions.
"You might get new states in South Australia around the Whyalla area and the western region and two or three in Victoria but it would be up to an inquiry to decide. You can't just put lines on a map."
Mr Pape said an attempt was made to form a New England state in April 1967 with a referendum and drawn boundaries that included Newcastle.
The referendum was unsuccessful but Mr Pape said that, if Newcastle were taken out of the results, the vote was roughly 70 per cent in favour.
"Newcastle thought it would be better off being within the Sydney sphere of influence," he said.
"I'm suggesting that the growth in independent MPs and the moves towards zonal taxation can be attributed to frustration by voters.
"So it's time we reviewed the present boundaries and looked at a new model of government for new states, something like the ACT. But we need an inquiry or a royal commission that involves everyone and I'm going to pursue that through the National Party."
Mr Pape said that under chapter six of the constitution, if the NSW and Commonwealth governments agreed one afternoon that there be new states, it could happen the next day, because the mechanism was there.
He said: "I want to get people talking about it because all these new states would be beneficiaries of the goods and services tax and some of the present state functions could be handed over to the Commonwealth."