King Island locals start petition to secede from Tasmania

NO MAN’S AN ISLAND: A group of King Islanders are drafting a petition to secede Tasmania and join Victoria. Picture: Getty.Hell hath no fury like King Islanders in the grips of a shipping crisis.


Following countless shipping setbacks that have resulted in a shortage of beer, pending fertiliser deliveries and future uncertainties, a group of King Islanders have formed a committee to draft a petition to secede from Tasmania and join Victoria.

King Islander Jill Munro saidthe two petitions are being drafted: the first will go to the Premier of Tasmania calling for the mayor and general manager to be stood down, an administrator put in place and the King Island shipping group re-established.

In the event the problem is not sorted, asecond would go to the Prime Minister and the Queen calling for a secession.

Ms Munro said King Islanders are fed up with the current administration.

“For years and years King Island has been one of the three top producers in Tasmania; we have always been industrious, we have been world famous for our butter, our crayfish, our beef and now we have the best golf courses,” Ms Munrosaid.

“All we ask for is a little bit of respect; we are not getting this from the Tasmanian Government.”

Ms Munro said she believes the island would not be in the situation they are in now had the shipping group not been disbanded several years ago.

Ms Munro said Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff “deliberately snuck into King Island” on Tuesday without addressing the community.

When asked if the petition was a serious bid to secede, Ms Munro responded “try us and see”.

A view of King Island’s Cape Wickham, overlooking the Bass Strait.

Senior lecturer in constitutional law Michael Stokes said for King Island to successfully secede from Tasmania it would need the support of both state’s parliaments and both state’s electorates, as well as Commonwealth support.

“The Parliament of Tasmania would have to vote in support, there would have to be a referendum in Tasmania and the majority approve the leaving and the Commonwealth would need to pass legislation altering the limits of Tasmania,”Mr Stokes said.

“The process then would be the same for King Island to join Victoria.”

Mr Stokes said apart from the formation of the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, there were no historical records of state boundary changes since federation.

“In practicality I think you would find the Tasmanian electorate wouldn’t support it; it would be seen as a land grab by Victoria,” he said.

King Island mayor Duncan McFie said he would “have a bit of a laugh” about the story.

“Weheld our monthly Council meeting last night which is open to the public and it certainly wasn’t mentioned there,” he said.

Mr McFie said in a recent council survey no one mentioned any ideas of secession.

Tasmania’s Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff

Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said the petition was not brought up during his visit to the island on Tuesday.

“A great majority of King Islanders also value Tasmania, and being part of Tasmania and such an important part of Tasmania,” Mr Rockliff said.

Braddon MHR Justine Keay said said the Premier had no choice but to “stand down Minister Hidding immediately.”

Ms Keay said King Islanders were feeling increasingly isolated.

Opposition treasury spokesman Scott Bacon said the government has treated King Islanders “so badly they want to join Victoria.”

Mr Bacon said the Deputy Premier’s attempt to “clean up the Minister’s [Rene Hidding] mess” didn’t work.

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