Tiny Lamb Island votes to secede from Australia

Tiny Lamb Island votes to secede from Australia
Mr Tony Gilson, who came up with the idea of independence, is unhappy about the lack of roads and limited services on the island.

A tiny island off the coast of Australia has voted to secede from the nation, joining a long list of little-sized and little-known Australian "micro-nations".

The 450 residents of Lamb Island, off the coast of Brisbane, held a ballot on Saturday on whether to declare independence and form the Independent Republic of Nguduroodistan.

Forty-nine voted yes, while 34 voted no, Australia's 9 News reported.

The proposed new state will have a king, a queen, a prime minister and 23 ministers. A local recreational yachtsman would be in charge of border protection.

The owner of the island's general store, Mr Tony Gilson, 52, came up with the idea after he and a friend spent an evening "having a whinge" about limited phone and power services on the island. "We feel that we are forgotten," he told The Straits Times.

"Our road systems are non-existent and there are a lot of dirt roads and a lot of bumpy things on the roads."

Mr Gilson admits he has been called a "lunatic" and likened to the Cambodian tyrant Pol Pot. The residents will now hold a plebiscite this week to adopt a constitution.

The proposed king and queen will be Mr and Mrs Bart and Maggie Bulwinkel, or King Barton and Queen Margaret, a couple in their 80s who have been living on the island for 53 years and are its longest residents. The official language will be English and the proposed name Nguduroodistan is based on the Aboriginal name for the island, Nguduroo.

Some locals are less enthused.

"It's a silly joke," one resident, who refused to be named, told The Straits Times.

The tranquil island has a small amount of tourism and is connected to three other surrounding islands via a free boat service.

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