At dinner last night I was speaking with my eight-year-old daughter who gave me a brilliant idea. I will create a new city – pack up my family, find some uninhabited land, and start my city there.

The rules will be simple – there will be none. In my new city, ALL rules will be thrown out the window. People can do whatever they like, whenever, and however they like. It was based on some of my daughter’s ideas. She was sick of going to school, tired of practising her piano. When she grows up she tells me she will be such a cool parent because she won’t enforce any rules on her kids and they can do whatever they want – oh, and they can buy all the Lego they want apparently.

So I thought I should go a step further. Forget about no house rules – I’ll create a city with no rules. I build my house – without wasting time having it approved by a central consent authority or getting a certificate to tell me it is safe. Not sure what I’ll do about fresh water and sanitation. The development of sanitation was recently voted by the British Medical Journal as the greatest medical advance since the journal started in 1840, but my new city doesn’t have anything resembling a sewer system so I’ll just pump the sewerage far enough away from my house that I won’t notice it. The upside is I won’t have to pay sewerage fees and there is no central authority to tell me I can’t do it!

I hit my first little problem when construction of my house starts. The builders from a nearby city (one of those silly ones with rules) say they can’t reach my house because there are no roads. Whoops. I make do with a road graded well enough for trucks to travel on, but I now have to settle for a smaller house after blowing some of my budget on grading a road.

When the house is finally built I have it made. My solar panels and batteries give me electricity. Rain is falling. Sewerage is going away somewhere. I grow vegetables in the area around my house (not too close to my sewerage outlet though). I pick up TV signals from a satellite dish so I buy a nice big TV for my lounge room.

Eventually someone hears about my wonderful concept. They move out and start building a house near mine. I think he’s building a bit too close, so I tell him – and he tells me he doesn’t care. This isn’t going so well. We argue and he finally agrees to move further up the road, but starts using the graded road I paid for. My bad luck.

I get over that one. But then he starts to pump his sewerage out his back door – and it runs into my house. I take a different approach and invite him over for coffee. I tell him I am not happy about the sewerage. He says it isn’t his problem and, by the way, he likes my nice big-screen TV so decides to take it while he is visiting. I object, but he is bigger. He walks out with my TV. There are no rules, so there is no punishment. The only option is to take it back.

I gather some friends and walk to my neighbour’s house via my smelly sewerage pit. With only a little force, I take back my TV. This city isn’t going so well and I only have two houses so far. The next day I receive another visit from my neighbour and 10 of his friends and – after I regain consciousness – I realise I have just lost my TV, my solar panels, and my wife to my neighbour. This is getting out of control.

Whilst still regaining vision in my left eye, my good eye sees a new business setting up across the road. Maybe this city is catching on. Then I realise what the business is – an unregulated piggery! It will be huge – and it is uphill from my place. More effluent to deal with!

At what point do I give up and demand we have some rules? How long can society exist without rules? Are there some rules which we should follow and others that can be ignored? Many may believe we have far too many rules and they are far too intrusive, but society – as a whole – has created the rules we live by.

People complain about speed laws – until their daughter is injured by a speeding driver. People complain about random breath testing – until they attend the funeral of a mate killed by a drunken driver. People complain about health regulations – until they end up in hospital with food poisoning. People complain about rates – until they turn on their tap and no water comes out. People complain about some facets of society until it has a direct negative impact on them.

For me, I don’t like the idea of my new city. I break the news to my eight-year-old that she will have to practise her piano and go to school because I have gone off the idea of my new city. If my new city was created, I think I’d call it ‘Chaos City’.

Let me know if you want to live in a city without rules at

Clr Mathew Dickerson

Mayor of the City of Dubbo

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