WAxit: West Australian Premier Mark McGowan says secession referendum ‘won’t be happening’
WA Premier Mark McGowan has dashed growing hopes of a referendum on WAxit – a radical plan to divide the state from the rest of Australia and effectively create two nations.
The bizarre concept has popped up repeatedly over the years but has recently exploded in popularity, with a poll conducted by market research group Utting Research revealing 28 per cent of Western Australians were in favour of secession. The movement is now picking up so much steam that the WA Republic Party has been created by former candidates in Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party specifically to push that agenda. The party hopes to win seats in the 2021 state election and plans to push a secession referendum. If a hypothetical referendum were to pass, the state would form a new nation called “Western Australia” and would operate separately from the rest of the country. But according to The West Australian, Mr McGowan is not entertaining the idea. “We’re not having a referendum on secession. That won’t be happening,” the Premier told the publication.
Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan is against the so-called “WAxit” plan. Picture: Matt Jelonek/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Mr McGowan told The West Australian the GST fix – which ensured his state got a fairer cut of the tax – had “dissipated some of the anger” felt by some WA residents who believe they do not get a fair deal compared with their eastern counterparts.
He said while “we carry the rest of the country” and “pull way above our weight”, secession “isn’t going to happen” and denied debate over WA’s hard border closure – which has been in place until April with no end date yet revealed – had helped drive pro-secession sentiment.
Federal Perth MP Patrick Gorman has been even more vocal, labelling the WA Republic Party a “destructive WA secessionist party” on Twitter.
The fledgling party’s Facebook page claims that: “There is a pressing need for a rewrite of the political landscape of Western Australia. We can stand on our own and we can chart our future. The time has never been better than now.”
And in a series of press releases authorised by Mr Sewell and shared on social media, the party argued that Western Australian jobs should go to locals and not to FIFO workers in other states.
“If you work in a Western Australian job, you should live in Western Australia and more importantly spend your Western Australian derived income in the Western Australian economy,” one statement reads.
“Non-Western Australians working in Western Australian jobs are stealing from our Western Australian economy while benefiting other parts of Australia and in some cases other nations,” another states.
Meanwhile, the WAxit plan has also been making waves on social media, with Western Australians expressing support for secession in droves.
However, the WAxit concept is nothing new, with the state agitating for a split regularly over the years.
In fact, in 2017 the West Australian Liberal Party voted in favour of a motion to look into the state seceding from the rest of Australia.