TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN  WEDNESDAY, JULY 17, 1991------------------------------------------TOPICS-----------------PAGE 5
Changes needed before we measure up to this Swede's expectations.
The man who would be Mayor
by Mary Vernon
Ture Sjolander is eager to become a citizen of Australia - but he rejects anything to do with Britain or the Queen.
"I love Australia, my greatest concern is that Australians don't love it enough. As soon it is possible to become a citizen of Australia without becoming a subject of the Queen then I will seize the opportunity" he said.
In the meantime ex-artist Ture, 54, will keep his Swedish passport and keep hoping for the social changes he sees as vital for Australia in general and for Townsville i particular.
"I am tired of art, painting has no relevance in this modern age" said Sjolander, whose work is exhibited in Sweden's National Gallery, Museum of Modern Art and other international galleries.
"All of society has embraced technology, to improve performance and to reach as many people as possible except for the artistic world. It is blinkered and tied to the principle of one-off paintings and limited edition prints.
"Perhaps it is still relevant in the Third World countries which have no access to technology but in the Western World  it is finished. It is like making only one hand-written copy of a book".
Ture believes that the art establishment, the galleries and curators are perpetuating an anachronism and he wants no part of it. His plan is to change the world - well, Australia at any rate.
He recently sponsored a public competition to find a new name for the combined city of Townsville/Thuringgova. The winner of the $500 prize was Don Talbot of Cranbrook whose suggestion was "Queensland City".
"There are many things I would like to see in Australia," he said. "We must throw off the British colonial system. The majority of Australians are not of Anglo Saxon origin and they do not want to be part of the British system. Having the British queen as the queen of Australia is ridiculous.
"And the constitution of Australia - it is based on the Magna Charta and it is not appropriate to Australia today. " We must embrace multiculturalism and on that foundation build a strong, self-sufficient country like America. "The minority cannot lead the majority. I believe that on the declaration of the Republic of Australia most of those 700.000 who now hold permanent resident visas, like me, would flock to become citizens."
He first came to Australia 1982 when he visited all the capital cities and the outback and begane his love affaier witk this country.
His biggest shock on that first trip was meeting the great Australian mateship tradition and completely misinterpreting it.
"I had only recently arrived in the country, I was in Canberra and I was thirsty. I found a bar and went in, but when I saw it was full of about 200 men drinking together and no woman I turned round and hurried out. I thought it was the biggest homosexual club I had ever seen"
He laughs now over his mistake, but still believes we must let go our convict past, in which he thinks the mateship tradition is rooted, to grow and expand in a truly Australian way.
After his first trip he come back again on his way to a film project in Papua Guinea. He met his future wife, Maria, a Filipino-born Australian in Sydney and, after tidying up his affairs in Sweden he arrived to settle and marry her in Australia in 1988.
"We came to Magnetic Island for our honeymoon and liked Townsville so much we stayed."
Although they have now separated, Ture continues to live in Townsville with his 20-month-old son, Matu because he thinks it is an ideal place.
When he first arrived, he found that people were much friendlier if they thought he was a tourist. They would welcome him and offer help. If he said he lived here, their concern and interest shut of immediately.
"S I started to pretend that I was a tourist and people in shops and buses and taxis were  extremely friendly. When I saw the same person again I would tell them I was back again on holiday."
Ture has abandoned this game now and hopes for a political future.
His concerns are many and he is passionate about them all. Ture Sjolander not one to remain uncommitted even though some of his views may seem contradictory.
On the one hand he is concerned about over-developement of Townsville. He feels that it is a good size now and double the population, as some developers have promised to do would destroy the lifestyle many find attractive.
"We don't want another Brisbane or Sydney here. Europe is full of cities which have followed this route and have been ruined by over-development and over-industrialism.
"We don't want that to happen here".
He believes it would be preferable to spread developement around among the various North Queensland centres, so that all can grow a little , but not too much.
But on the other hand he is keen to see developement on Palm Island.
" I believe that Palm Island could be a great tourist tourist attraction. It is so naturally beautiful, and so close to the reef. "We should negotiate with the community there to build up tourism, to build a resort, maybe to stage an annual festival there. " It is a great resource and on which is not being used".
While he waits for the republic and his chance at Australian citizenship, Ture spends his time caring for his small son. "I have a single parent's allowance, which let me stay home and look after Matu. Besides that, I have royalties from my books and artworks which are on public display in Sweden. " Under Swedish law, artworks are treated the same way as music and books here. If they are on show royalties are paid to the artists for the privilege"