Name of the party
Put WA First Party
The Put WA First Party has been formed in response to the rising frustration of many Western Australians about the unfair deal they receive in the distribution of GST funds and the lack of interest by the major political parties to address the fundamental problem.
This perception of unfair treatment of WA by the other States and the Commonwealth Government goes back to Federation in 1901.
At that time, WA reluctantly joined the Federation, being concerned that it would cede the autonomy gained through self-governance in 1890 to a distant government in Melbourne in place of the distant Government in London.
In the 1890’s, over half the State’s revenue was generated from inter-colonial tariffs which would be eliminated in the new Federation and an agreement was put in place to allow the continuance of tariffs for the first five years.
Dissatisfaction with the Federation emerged at the end of that period when the Legislative Assembly declared that the Federation had “proved detrimental to the interests” of the State.
In 1933, there was a referendum in which 68% of the 209,360 Western Australian voters supported secession. The petition to the Imperial Parliament in England ultimately failed.
There was another move to secede in 1974. This was led by Lang Hancock in response to the centralist policies of the Whitlam Government.
Most recently, the introduction of the Mining Resource Rental Tax by the Labor Government in 2012, was widely seen in Western Australia as an attack on Western Australian interests to benefit the eastern states.
The fact that Commonwealth Treasurers have stood by while Western Australia’s share of GST revenue has fallen to 30 cents in the dollar of GST raised, has resulted in considerable resentment across Western Australia.
While some grants for infrastructure construction have been promised as compensation, generally, the politicians of all major parties elected by Western Australians to both houses of the Commonwealth Government, have not strongly represented the need for change to address the inequity of the GST distribution.
The GST distribution is the most obvious but not the only example of inequitable treatment of WA in the Commonwealth.
To ensure that Western Australians are truly represented in the Commonwealth Government, it is essential that they have the opportunity to elect parliamentarians from a party that has the interests of Western Australia as its primary focus and not concerned about shoring up support in electorates in other states at the expense of Western Australia.