The Victorian Independence Movement is growing quickly as more and more people realise changing Prime Ministers from Sydney hasn’t – and won’t – fix the problems we face as members of this failed federation.
But what would an independent Victoria look like? How would work? How dramatic would the changes to the average persons day to day life be?
What system of government would Victoria use?
The current Westminster derived system of parliamentary government would remain at independence.
The Premier would become the Prime Minister. Some new roles – Foreign and Defence Ministers – would be created.
Victorian independence would offer the opportunity to reform our system of government further if elected representatives or the people via a plebiscite.
Who will be the Head of State
Although we have strongly republican instincts, the Victorian Independence Movement doesn’t have a formal position on this issue.
It should be decided by the people of Victoria.
Under the current constitutional arrangements, Victoria could vote for a republic in an Australian referendum and have their wishes denied by other states.
If an independence referendum were held and won tomorrow, the Governor of Victoria would assume the same constitutional powers as the Governor-General.
What about First Nations people?
The Victorian Parliament is currently negotiating Treaty with the First People’s Assembly of Victoria.
Independent Victoria will be predicated on the legal recognition of the sovereignty of First Nations people.
What currency will Victoria use?
Independent Victoria would use Victorian dollars issued by the Central Bank of Victoria.
It is very likely Victorian businesses would accept Australian dollars at the relevant exchange rate.
Similar situations occur in places like Canada and Ireland.
Will Victoria have a defence force?
Victoria will require a small, but very well trained and equipped defence force to protect our interests.
As a good global citizen, Victoria would contribute to United Nations peacekeeping operations and stand ready to assist friends and neighbours as required.
Would there be a border with Australia
This does not mean there need be a hard border.
We don’t want an impractical situation where passports are checked at Murray River bridges.
We anticipate reciprocal working rights, a common travel area and mutual recognition of qualifications would reduce most of the day to day friction of independence for both Victorian and Australian citizens.
Australia already has reciprocal working rights and a common travel area with New Zealand. The European Union also has had similar arrangements.
What happens to Australian citizenship and people here on visas issued by the Australian government?
All Australian citizens living in Victoria at the time of the successful referendum would automatically gain Victorian citizenship.
Victoria would recognise dual citizenship and nobody would lose their Australian citizenship.
All existing visa holders would have the conditions of their stay honoured by the Victorian government.
Will Victorians be able to represent Australia (and vice versa) in international sporting competitions?
Yes, as long as the player’s situation meets the requirements of the relevant governing body.
What about the ABC?
A Victorian Broadcasting Corporation will provide the same services at the ABC, but to a higher standard with better comparative funding.
What about Victoria’s share of the national debt?
Victoria will assume its fair share of the Australian national debt, along with our share of Australian assets.
Will we still pay GST?
Broadbased consumption taxes are common in advanced economies like Victoria.
After independence there will be a GST, except we will keep every cent it raises, rather than losing 8 cents in every dollar like we do now.
What about Free Trade Agreements (FTA) we’ve already signed?
Victoria would honour all existing requirements in FTAs signed by Australia.
Independence would allow us to sign other agreements too.
New Zealand has a FTA with the European Union, while Australia’s negotiations have lingered for years.
Isn’t this a fundamentally stupid idea like Brexit?
Victorian independence from the Commonwealth is entirely different from the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
The better comparison is Scotland leaving the UK.
Independent Victoria would be wealthier, healthier and properly able to enact our priorities.