A political party dedicated to fighting for a better share of GST revenue for Western Australia with its headquarters in the State – has applied to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) for formal registration.
Just six months after announcing his intention to establish a new political force, former Perth Lord Mayor, Chas Hopkins, has successfully achieved 758 members – well above the 550 members required to request registration for his Put WA First party.
While the AEC registration process can take up to three months, Mr Hopkins, said Put WA First has already argued the case at the Productivity Commission, developed an official constitution and leased premises in Perth for the party’s headquarters.
Overwhelmed by community and business support, Mr Hopkins has confirmed he intends to stand for a Senate seat in the next Federal Election and will now turn his attention to attracting additional high-quality candidates to take his battle for the GST to Canberra.
“Put WA First will do for WA, what the Nick Xenophon Party did for South Australia.
We are going to get strong, vocal candidates into Federal Parliament and our mantra will be if its not good for Western Australia then we are not interested.
“Instead of wasting their votes at the ballot box by supporting the Liberal, Labor or the Greens, Western Australians can get behind a real and transparent alternative solely dedicated to putting them first,” he said.
Mr Hopkins said that WA’s share of GST revenue has shrunk to 34 cents in every dollar sent to Canberra and is at risk of diving below 30 cents.
“The figures don’t lie,” he said.
“WA taxpayers have sunk $171 billion into the running of the Federation over and above what we’ve received in Commonwealth benefits and services,” he said.
Mr Hopkins said recent research had shown the GST rip-off has created a $73 billion hole in WA’s infrastructure needs and lost projects.
“The casualties are new schools, roads and planning for an outer harbour, all projects which would have delivered a major economic boost for WA.
“We are talking about the creation of 94,341 full time jobs.”
Mr Hopkins said the performance of WA politicians sitting in Federal Cabinet had been nothing short of disgraceful on the GST issue.
“Where have influential ministers like Julie Bishop, Finance Minister Matthias Cormann, Attorney General Christian Porter and Michael Keenan gone?” asked Mr Hopkins.
“I can’t help imagining that each time this issue is raised in Federal Cabinet our representatives sit there and say nothing,”
Mr Hopkins also derided Federal Labor’s offer of $1.6bn bail out as a pathetic solution to the shortfall.
“It’s a farce, especially since the original intent of the Grants Commission, when it was established in the 1970s was to guarantee each State had sufficient funds to provide equal living standards for its citizens.
“With such dramatic cut backs in WA’s income stream from the GST that is now not the case,” said Mr Hopkins.
“We are the poor cousin of the Australian States.”
Mr Hopkins challenged Prime Minister Turnbull’s statement that only the States can change the GST as a cop-out.
“The Federal Treasurer can do it tomorrow,” he said.
“No state governments, especially those facing imminent elections, are about to make changes that will disadvantage them financially.
“If the existing parties don’t have the guts to stand up for Western Australia then they better move aside, because Put WA First is on the move and we are not going to stop until we get back our State’s GST.”