Senator Ian Macdonald goes his own way to promote Northern Australia

Senator Ian Macdonald goes his own way to promote Northern Australia


Federal Election National News
Senator Ian Macdonald wants a new council for northern Australia.

Senator Ian Macdonald wants a new council for northern Australia.

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The 4th placed LNP Senator wants people to vote below the line and make him number one on the ballot.

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Senator Ian Macdonald has sat on the benches of the purple chamber since 1990 but this year he faces his toughest task to be re-elected yet.

Listed as number four on the LNP Queensland ticket, that seems a bridge too far and an unwinnable slot for the North Queensland-based senator with only six seats up for grabs in this half-Senate election.

That's why Senator Macdonald is urging voters to ignore the LNP how-to-vote cards and vote below the line in the Senate.

He wants people to vote him number one and then vote two to 12 in whatever way you choose to make a valid upper house vote.

Voting against the party ticket is not the only unusual suggestion the Ayr-based Senator Macdonald is making ahead of the May 18 vote.

On Friday, Senator Macdonald said he wanted a cross-border council was the next step needed to develop Northern Australia.

He said the Northern Australia white paper he developed with then PM Tony Abbott in 2014 brought money to the region but more needed to be done.

"Five years on the focus has gone and we need to have the second stage of the plan," Senator Macdonald said.

He wants a standalone department of Northern Australia and a standalone minister instead of sharing the portfolio with the minister for resources.

"The standalone department needs to be based in northern Australia not in Canberra, with public servants who live here and understand it and have a bit empathy with this part of the world," he said.

The second part of Senator Macdonald's plan is a new council for northern Australia. "This would involve all the mayors in the north plus state and federal elected members," he said.

Senator Macdonald said this council meant the north could speak to Canberra with one voice.

"Currently we have the North West mayors see us, then we have the Cape York mayors come down, the idea is to get people to meet regionally and get a common voice and have a body that people in Sydney and Melbourne can see they're active," he said.

That way, he says, the north can prioritise its most important projects.

"A new state of Northern Queensland is impractical and will never happen but the thing behind it is the fact we are not getting our fair share," he said.

"We need a fixed percentage of what we earn which should come back to the region to build new roads, new hospitals, new schools."

Senator Macdonald said this was his plan not the government and if re-elected he would fight to get it on the agenda.

"In the Senate every single vote is important," he said.

"While we do well under our government we can do better and the way to do that is have this fixed percentage and it's fair and if you can get a group of public servants up here that helps."

The North West Star

The story Senator Ian Macdonald goes his own way to promote Northern Australia first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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