AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Would WAxit Happen?

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By Politicoscope August 31, 2017 16:49
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WA would also be left to compete on its own in international sport, potentially pitting it against Australia in events such as international cricket and football World Cup qualification.

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Would WAxit Happen?

A group of West Australian Liberals has put secessionism back on the agenda, with a renewed push for the state to consider becoming an independent nation. This week’s WA Liberal conference will examine setting up a committee to consider secession, amid anger over the state’s low GST share.

But experts say the cost of setting up armed forces from scratch and funding a public health system in its entirety — as well as the practical aspects of leaving Australia — make it unrealistic.

So if WA actually wanted to secede, how would it go?

What is actually being proposed?
The Liberal Party’s Brand Division wants a ‘WAxit’ committee set up to seriously look at secession.

It would examine the option of “Western Australia becoming an independent state within the Commonwealth” and would report back by mid next year.

The Liberal state conference will consider the motion this weekend.

But even any recommendations in favour of secession would not necessarily have much impact, as motions passed at state conferences are not binding on Liberal parliamentarians.

Hasn’t this come up before?
Yes — in fact secessionism has been a regular debate ever since WA somewhat reluctantly signed up to the federation more than a century ago.

In 1933, two-thirds of West Australians actually voted to secede, with Perth one of the strongest centres of support.

A delegation was sent to London to convince the United Kingdom’s House of Commons to let WA go it alone, but it refused to consider the matter.

Secession movements have come and gone ever since, but none have been as prominent.

Why are people angry?
A feeling that WA gets a raw deal from the Commonwealth is the biggest driver, with advocates pointing to the state’s low GST share as a key reason for this push.

There is support in high places too, with WA Liberal president Norman Moore among those who have said the state should secede without significant reform in its favour.

“There is an element who feel the state does get a raw deal from decision makers in the east,” political analyst Peter Kennedy said.
“I think the majority go along with the federation, but from time to time a noisy minority do make their voice heard.”

Can states secede from Australia?
The Australian Constitution describes the federation as “one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth”, strongly suggesting states cannot secede.

That is one reason constitutional experts have long dismissed the prospect of secession as unrealistic.

“There isn’t an obvious way in which a state can legally secede from the whole of Australia,” Melbourne University constitutional law expert Cheryl Saunders said two years ago.

Most likely, a serious secession attempt would need to start with a vote in favour in WA — but exactly what would need to happen beyond that is unclear.

What other difficulties are there?
If Western Australia became its own country, like any other nation it would need to fund its own military, print currency and give its citizens passports.

An independent WA would also need to fund its health and education systems on its own, set up embassies across the world, pass laws for countless issues currently covered by Federal Parliament and establish intelligence agencies.

Because of those issues, the prospect of secession is seen as unrealistic for financial reasons as much as anything else.

“I doubt whether it is economically viable for WA to secede, above anything else,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Even with our stronger financial position with resources, I don’t think we’d have the financial resources to do it.”

WA would also be left to compete on its own in international sport, potentially pitting it against Australia in events such as international cricket and football World Cup qualification.

– ABC



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By Politicoscope August 31, 2017 16:49
Since You’re Here, We Would Like to ask You for Help
There are more readers worldwide reading the Politicoscope daily news content than ever before. Unlike many other news media organisations that charge their readers subscription fees for the same daily news content and features we offer you for free, we do not charge all our readers to pay any fee. We depend on online advertising to generate the revenues to fund all these great news content and exclusive features provided to you for free. Currently, advertising revenues are quickly falling which is affecting our ability to offer you free online news content.
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