Why we must decentralise now (letter)by Don FordNews Weekly
, November 20, 2004
Kevin O'Neill (News Weekly
, October 9, 2004) says that what Australia needs is rail infrastructure more than politicians in new states.
I emphatically agree with his well-reasoned thesis that we urgently need a new freight and passenger rail system such as he describes, and which has also been eloquently recommended by Professor Lance Endersbee.
But what we also need is not simply more politicians but more good
politicians. Not fortune-seekers or party hacks pushing discredited policies, but honest, upright and God-fearing men and women in positions of responsibility, exercising fairly and impartially the offices to which they have been elected freely by the people for the common good.
Not only must the people be able to elect good representatives to govern them in their new states, their representatives must be easily accessible to them - a situation which does not exist in most of the existing states.
Possibly Tasmania is the only exception. If people in rural and regional Australia are denied such access to those whom they have elected to govern them, they will rightly conclude that they are being neglected and ignored.
Thus they will be tempted, especially in times of adversity, to sell up and move back to the big cities "where all the action is" and where the government is easily accessible.
This is certainly the case in NSW where the government seems incapable of seeing beyond the Blue Mountains. No doubt a similar situation exists in the other big states - "out of sight, out of mind".
Therefore, for people in the country to obtain prosperity and good government, they need to create their own self-governing, sovereign, autonomous states, with at least all the powers that the existing states have, but also working in close and constructive co-operation with the Commonwealth, especially in the field of major projects, such as water conservation and a national rail system.
Indeed, the great rail infrastructure which Mr O'Neill envisages could form the backbone of new states, north from Victoria to Riverina, Murrumbidgee, Orana, Macquarie, Wilcannia, New England and South Queensland, and on to Centralia and North Australia, to terminate at Darwin. In like manner did the middle and western states and provinces of the USA and Canada come into being.Don Ford,