Western Australia

Sep 1, 2017

When a problem comes along, you must WAxit: a history of WA’s attempts to secede

The motion put forward by the Brand division of the WA Liberal Party to examine the possibility of WA pursuing secession is just the latest example in a long history.

Charlie Lewis — Journalist

Charlie Lewis


Our founding document's preamble doesn't even mention Western Australia, because the state was so reluctant to federate in the first place. By the time the Sandgropers did hop aboard, it was too late for the document to be re-drafted. And they've been itching to get out ever since. 

The motion put forward by the Brand division of the Western Australian Liberal Party to examine the possibility of WA pursuing secession is just the latest example of those perpetual malcontents trying to unhinge themselves from the rest of the continent and drift off towards South Africa. 

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13 thoughts on “When a problem comes along, you must WAxit: a history of WA’s attempts to secede

  1. The Curmudgeon

    Given that the more populous states carried WA financially for the first seventy years of federation, it will be 2040 before we should listen to their whinging.

    1. Rais

      That’s debatable Curmudgeon, WA as an exporting State had to live with the cost of protected and subsidised industries in the East. That made some Federal support necessary. As for whingeing now, I hear that NSW is very upset that its GST return has dropped this year to just over twice what WA gets. They think it’s very unfair. The heart bleeds.

      1. Veronica Le Nevez

        NSW has a third of the country’s population which is why it gets more GST. Australia as a whole is a net exporter – otherwise we wouldn’t survive with a population of 22 million.

        1. Dion Giles

          That is untrue. (1) WA is a net exporter (2) the WA share of the GST Theft Tax revenue is way short on a PER CAPITA basis and (3) it is also way short on the basis of its proportion of the GST revenue received by WA from the Commonwealth to the GST revenue contributed by WA to the Commonwealth.
          If the LNP government won’t fix this misappropriation its parliamentary members holding WA seats will lose them. This means good riddance to Mathias Corman and Michael Keenan for openers.

  2. Rais

    “They’ve been itching to get out ever since.” No they haven’t. Yes a referendum succeeded in the 1930s but it wouldn’t succeed now and a motion for a referendum wouldn’t even get through State Parliament. I grew up in WA in the 1950s and 60s and never heard a wbisper about secession. Now, occasionally someone in politics or the media raises it when when they’ve got nothing else to say. The WA Libs have nothing to say at the moment, no policies and no ideas so they raise secession from the dead to get a headline.

  3. Dion Giles

    WA’s budgetary woes are not caused by the unfair distribution of GST Theft Tax revenue but by the elected state government being stuck with a Barnett Black Hole exceeding $30 billion along with massive expenses arising from binding contracts made with private enterprise, from loss of public assets to privatisation and from shoddy public buildings all left behind by the disastrous Barnett government. It is perhaps a pity that Premier McGowan is too much of a gentlemen to make a propaganda meal of it every time the Libs complain about the government’s inherited budgetary restrictions.

    1. Dion Giles

      “not caused by” should be “not caused PRIMARILY by”.
      The misappropriation of GST Theft Tax revenue is a contributing budgetary problem in WA in addition to the Barnett Black Hole.

  4. Denis Smith

    It’s interesting to see that today we have 2 articles about WA; a state that rarely features in any national news forum. What has happened; is Turnball in the state and the press has followed him over here?
    This article does not mentioned what our rate of GST return has been for the last couple of years. It is appalling! Believe me, I am no fan of the Liberal Party and Colin Barnett and I accept that much of the state’s financial situation is due to his government’s over expenditure on major infrastructure projects but our treatment by the “eastern states ” is of concern. And as a result I voted against them.
    We do not have pokies in this state (a great thing) but this not a consideration in determining GST returns as it is all too hard! How much do the eastern states gain from this curse? Nothing?
    When did the Dutch first land in WA; quite a few years before James “discovered” the east coast.
    Hey guys it’s not all about the eastern states!

  5. Denis Smith

    Bugger; I forgot to mention the decision to Western Force from the national competition.
    I wonder whether I missed anything else?

  6. AR

    Gotta lurve the black swan of trespass on alien waters.

  7. aorta

    Western Australian politicians would be fools to secede. It may seem an old-fashioned yellow-peril nightmare, but looked at in the long-term, a resource-rich, people-poor Western Australia without the military support of the rest of Australia would have great difficulty defending itself against a booming Asian nation which felt the need to find some Lebensraum or to guarantee resources (Indonesia and China come to mind).

    1. Dion Giles

      The very idea of fragmenting Australia is batsh*t crazy. End up like Yugoslavia? Only a Lib would dream up such an idea.

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