Friday, September 09, 2005
I am putting together a postdoc application on the topic of New States movements in Australia. There have been quite a number of them over time and at least as many in the 19th as the 20th century (though of course in the 19th it was about new colonies). The main periods seem to be the early 1930s - the peak of the popular movement - and the 1950s - when it became an enthusiasm of policy types. However there has also been a northern NSW movement for a new state that seems to have enjoyed ebbs and flows, but has always been present, throughout the 20th century. As I write the application I become less, unfortunately as I had hoped it would be more, certain of the exact boundaries I should apply. The Hutt River Province, which was declared in April 1970 apparently as a way of avoiding a piece of legislation about to become law which, Leonard Casley feared, would make him liable for an unpayable debt, fits a part of the bill - although of course Hutt River has seceded, rather than become a state, so that opens up another can of worms (as does the West Australian secession referendum of 1933). Aboriginal self-determination also introduces another element, though this is not usually talked about in terms of statehood (at least: not in terms of setting aside a complete territory a la Nunavit). Fascinating stuff though. I only hope that I will not become convinced that new states are an answer to anything. As I said to Mia last night my present position is that it's just a bunch of jumped up rednecks who want the freedom to redden their necks more. I am horrendously intolerant when it comes to Anglo-Australians who I see as less sophisticated than my unbelievably sophisticated self.