AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Western Australia Liberals Vote in Favour of Financial WAxit

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By Politicoscope September 3, 2017 14:18
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The non-binding so-called “WAxit” policy motion, put forward by the Brand division, called for the establishment of a committee “to examine the option of WA becoming an independent state within the Commonwealth”.

But after hot debate today, the motion was amended to becoming “financially independent” as suggested by state president Norman Moore.

Continue below with the full current political topic.

AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Western Australia Liberals Vote in Favour of Financial WAxit

Western Australia’s Liberal party conference has voted in favour of a motion to financially secede the state from the federation, despite one member warning there was a risk of being labelled the “lunatic fringe”.

The non-binding so-called “WAxit” policy motion, put forward by the Brand division, called for the establishment of a committee “to examine the option of WA becoming an independent state within the Commonwealth”.

But after hot debate today, the motion was amended to becoming “financially independent” as suggested by state president Norman Moore.

It passed 89-73, which Mr Moore said should send a strong message to Canberra. “It tells them that Western Australians, particularly Liberal party Western Australians, are not happy with the way in which WA is being treated,” he told reporters.

“The GST is symptomatic of that but it is more than that.

“Because we’re a long way from Canberra, we feel that we’re being ignored and our interests aren’t being taken into consideration by both sides of politics.”

Mr Moore, who previously believed WA should be a separate country, said fiscal independence could be achieved by government decree.

He suggested states raise all personal income tax and company tax, and pay the Commonwealth for the services it provides, creating “a bit of competitive federalism”.

But he conceded it was unlikely to happen.

“I don’t know if any federal government is ever going to agree to give away authority. That’s the nature of politics: it’s all about power.” State opposition leader Mike Nahan was against the motion, but said it was an understandable “expression of frustration”.

“Rivers of cash are pulled from under us and we’re left in debt and deficit. It’s not right,” he said.

Seeking GST reform was preferable to severing ties with the rest of the nation, he said. “Fix our federation, don’t bust it.”

Rick Palmer, who drafted the motion, said WA Liberals needed to “make the noise … rather than just whinge about it in corners” but another party member said they risked being labelled the “lunatic fringe”.

Federal Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said it was “a real vote of no confidence” in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“It’s pretty terrible isn’t it that the West Australian branch of the Liberal Party have so little faith in Malcolm Turnbull and his government that they want to leave the federation that they’re part of,” she told reporters in Sydney. Liberal Senator Mathias Corman said WA would remain an important part of the federation.

“The motion which was adopted was very different to the one that was originally proposed,” he said.

“To explore ways to become more financially independent from the Commonwealth is something that I would encourage all states to do.”

Libs vote for WAxit probe
The West Australian Liberal Party will explore whether WA should become “financially independent” from the rest of Australia— a push labelled WAxit — after a debate over WA’s low share of GST.

The WA Liberal state conference today voted 89-73 in favour of WAxit and will now establish a committee of up to six members: three former members of parliament and three members of state Council to “examine the option of Western Australia becoming a financially independent state within the Commonwealth and answer the question ‘Should we try’ with a response to be referred to State Council no later than July 2018”.

The word “financially” was added to the motion to be clear the party — which is in opposition — is not exploring becoming an independent nation.

After the vote WA Liberal Party state president Norman Moore said he used to be a secessionist but he now accepted that most West Australians wanted to remain Australians — he said they enjoy many things about being Australian like singing the national anthem and watching the Australian cricket team.

Mr Moore now describes himself as a financial secessionist and is in favour of WA having control over the riches it generates.

During the debate, David Napoli urged fellow Liberals not to vote for the Waxit motion, saying this could result in the WA branch looking like “a lunatic fringe” and alienate the party’s base.

“We would lose a lot of votes,” he said.

“I see myself as Australian … I just happen to love in Western Australia.

“I think it (Waxit) actually creates a lot of emotional stuff that’s quite damaging to the Liberal party.

“And the journalists would be quite happy to class us as the insane branch of the party.”

State leader Mike Nahan opposed the idea of Waxit, but several speakers linked a move for financial independence from the Commonwealth to voter anger over inertia over GST reform. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has promised a floor that would ensure WA could never again receive 30c back in every dollar of GST it sends to Canberra, but there is no timeline.

– AAP



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Politicoscope
By Politicoscope September 3, 2017 14:18
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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