In our Thursday edition I did an article on the new handbook about the proposed state of North Queensland.
I am lukewarm about a new state as I am not a fan of Australia's three-tiered federal system and I would prefer to see a high-powered north west Queensland council looking after regional interests reporting directly to Canberra.
However that idea is not very popular and would face major constitutional hurdles to enact so probably not like to happen any time soon.
A new state of North Queensland is only a marginal less difficult proposal but has a major selling point in that it a lot easier to make happen within the terms of the current Australian constitution.
And I have to admit the handbook is an impressive addition to the argument.
Obviously it has plenty of arguments as to why a state of North Queensland would be advantageous but also addresses many of the points those against the proposal have and will continue to make.
The handbook provides plenty of historical and legal context (and I must admit I was unaware of the New England referendum that narrowly voted down a new state in Northern New South Wales in 1967).
I'm not sure however it fully addressed the thorny question of where a new state would get its funding from.
Robbie Katter and others have often said that areas like North West Queensland generate more revenue for the state economy than we get back and that is true. But mining royalties are only one part of a complex equation of funding. There is also payroll tax, stamp duties, land tax, gambling taxes and motor vehicle premiums.
For instance businesses become liable for payroll tax once their wage bill reaches $1.1 million a year, and what happens if these business are registered in Brisbane?
Working out what percentage of GST the Commonwealth would pay to North Queensland would most likely become a political football too.
That's before you start talking about Senate representation, allocating state debt and assets or determining where the state border starts and ends.
All fiendishly difficult questions but good on the handbook for starting to ask them. Derek Barry