Sunday, July 28, 2013

Four New England New State questions

Over on the New England New State Movement Facebook page, new members have raised a number of questions. I thought that I would answer four of them here.

How do we create a new state of New England?

This one deserves a full response. However, the short answer is this. The Australian constitution provides for the subdivision of existing states and the admission of new states. The provisions are there, but just very difficult to use.

If its all so hard, why do you bother?

We know from experience that the only way to attract attention, to gain the things that we want. is to force existing power structures to respond. In 1967 just before the plebiscite, UNE geography professor Eric Woolmington said that anyone who voted no had rocks in their head.

Eric was not a new stater. He thought that the constitutional barriers were to great to be overcome. His point was that the new state cause was the only thing forcing the existing system to respond to our needs.

People look at me blankly. they think that I am strange, when I talk new states. How do I respond?

Keep it simple. Say that after 150 years, the New England or Northern New State movement is Australia's oldest political movement. It survives because we have our own history, because the needs that created the movement in the first place, still exist. We feel that we would do better if we governed ourselves.

We haven't been successful to this point, although we have forced the creation of two NSW and one Commonwealth Royal Commissions, a  major Commonwealth Parliamentary constitution enquiry, a plebiscite. national parks, Australia's first country tertiary institutions. encouraged decentralisation.

We are a democratic reform movement that has had significant national impact. But most of all, we just want to govern ourselves.

How do I help?

Learn about our shared history. Join the New England New State Movement Facebook group. Join the Association. Look to form new branches. Most of all, just talk about the cause. 

Change doesn't happen over night. It comes inch by inch.       


Greg said...

Good points Jim. We now have social networking, blogs and media comment pages (such as Newcastle Herald) where we can all contribute our opinions and connect with other people. If enough people such as yourself, continue to comment and inform about New England and the benefits of self determination then eventually a seed may take hold. If not the seed of self government then at least recognition of the needs of Northern NSW and the deficiencies of NSW in meeting those needs. Progress, however small, is always welcome.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thanks, Greg. As we have talked about before, its how all the little bits come together that's important. If New England is not seen as an identity, if it doesn't exist in people's minds, then everything is sent to the dust-bin of non-existence.

I was thinking about this in the context of the discussion on our Facebook page on New England life style magazines or sites. Each presents a slice of New England life. We need to promote those slices, but also draw them together so that we New Englanders understand our own social, cultural and experiential richness.