Western Australia

Secession is a strange, sibilant, lisping sort of a word. Not easy to say after a few schooners. But you can expect to hear more of it in the months ahead. Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom – perhaps even Australia – are all, to varying degrees, embroiled in the process of national divorce.

Maybe Gina could secede all on her own. Pic: Lyndon Mechielsen (digitally altered)

Secession is the act of exiting or withdrawing from a political union – in this case a State. When a region seeks to secede from a wider union it does more than simply threaten the geographic integrity of a nation; it undermines the legitimacy of the existing constitutional structures; and as a result it casts doubt on the State’s authority.

Australia is not immune from the secessionist virus, as this headline in The West Australian shows: WA’s a big economy on its own. The article went on to note that an independent WA would be the world’s third richest country in terms of GDP per capita; it would soon over take Portugal and Ireland.

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  • Fergal Davis says:

    06:52pm | 28/11/12

    Thank you all for reading the article and taking the time to comment. I enjoyed your lively - if at times irreverent debate:-) A few of you mention Texas. It is post (ed?) My main reasons for leaving it to one side were that I was focused on the Catalan… Read more »

  • Fergal Davis says:

    06:44pm | 28/11/12

    Sorry Jimbo, I wasn’t responsible for the photo. I’m sure no offence was intended. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Read more »


The quickest and most effective means of attracting money to the north of Australia is to declare (for a trial period of 20 years) a tax holiday for all workers and salary earners.’‘

Unfashionable ideas run in the family

That’s not Gina Rinehart but her late father, Lang Hancock, in 1958, who was an equally passionate advocate of developing Australia’s vast resource-rich north.

Rinehart’s increasingly frequent forays into public policy should surprise no-one. Australia’s richest woman inherited not only her father’s lucrative mining interests, but his unfashionable ideas too.

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  • Mum of three says:

    07:31pm | 07/09/12

    Acotrel, don’t patronise me. There is unbelievable amounts of waste in the system, and you know it as well as I do. I’m not saying for a moment that basic government functions don’t exist - I’m saying that featherbedding, rent seeking and sheer pigsnoutery adds up to a heck of… Read more »

  • By jingo says:

    07:25pm | 07/09/12

    Her “making money” was more the result of luck than any business acumen on her part. Her father did all the hard work fighting tooth and nail with state and federal governments so that he could establish his mining empire. Gina literally inherited her position and took the reins of… Read more »


Australia’s biggest proposed industrial development is looking on increasingly shaky and unsecured ground, with Woodside this week announcing it was asking the Federal Government for a year-long extension on making a final investment decision on its contentious Kimberley gas plant.

Pretty, isn't it. Locals and enviro-campaigners hope James Price Point will stay that way.

That comes less than two weeks after Western Australian Supreme Court Chief Justice Wayne Martin handed the James Price Point gas project its biggest setback by ruling that the WA Government had acquired the land illegally.

The Chief Justice found that the government had botched its rushed attempt to compulsorily acquire the land 60 kilometres north of tourist gateway Broome after negotiations between the government, Woodside and the Kimberley Land Council stalled last year.

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  • Leela says:

    12:22am | 27/12/11

    Real jobs for who? The WA government admits there’s a shortage of the skilled labour required to work on this project.  The so-called real jobs will be for people temporarily brought in from overseas.  As for benefits to the nation? - so s the money can be spent on another… Read more »

  • Glen Klatovsky says:

    11:48pm | 22/12/11

    I think it is important to understand two things. Firstly the sheer scale of this project. If anyone has ever been on site at a gas processing facility, you will understand. These developments are awesome. An amazing feat of human ingenuity. However, completely out of step with the Kimberley coast.… Read more »


He’s a self-confessed “cashed-up bogan” earning $800 a day or more than $208,000 a year in Western Australia’s booming mining industry.

Bogan bling

Since dropping out of Mandurah Catholic College in year 10, James “Jimmy” Dinnison, 25, has earned more than a million dollars, bought a house at aged 18, but sees no problem in splurging most of his hard-earned on boy’s toys.

Jimmy works extremely hard in tough, hot and dangerous conditions as a fly-in, fly-out driller working 12-hour shifts in the WA’s north-west, but he has also sparked fierce debate about the fall of the American economy, thanks to an intriguing profile in that country’s highest circulating newspaper, the influential Wall Street Journal.

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  • Darragh Scully says:

    12:04pm | 26/11/11

    Yeah and you wonder why their is so much trouble, with all the name calling and stereotyping and so on. Immature drivel and dont forget I told you so. Turn it up on the big stage Carps if you dont believe me, stop hiding in our Shadow. Read more »

  • John in Phuket says:

    05:06pm | 25/11/11

    I love how the girlfriend wants him to manage “their” money better. Read more »


Quint would be pleased. The professional shark-hunter from Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws would raise a glass and toast the WA government’s decision to authorise the destruction of the shark responsible for a diver’s death at Rottnest Island last week.

Getting chomped by a guy like this was the rottenest luck, but that doesn't mean we should shoot him

And just like in Jaws, there’s community hysteria, a loss of reasoned thought, at the idea there is a man-eater waiting in the shallows off the coast.

This reaction is admirable and understandable. The loss of a life through misadventure is tragic. Often the casualty is in their prime and their loved ones are always devastated. Our unreserved sympathies go out to those left behind in what must be the worst imaginable circumstances. No act or sentiment can ever fill the hole left in their lives.

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  • Mal 380 says:

    03:05pm | 16/07/12

    We are a partly aquatic animal. We evolved in the tidal zone. That is why we aren’t covered in fur like every other non-aquatic animal. That is why we enjoy being in water, it is a primeval instinct for us. I’m a surfer and to tell me stay out of… Read more »

  • Danielle says:

    12:19pm | 30/10/11

    Humans in life are at risk all the time as all other creatures in nature are also. Every time you jump in your car you could be killed. You fly in a plane it may crash. You’re at work and it may be your last day you breathe. You are… Read more »


I am trying hard not to sound like a grumpy old man well before my time, but what is it with the fun police on the streets of Perth?

Don't light up. Photo: Stewart Allen.

In just one week, the good citizens of the Australia’s western state have been subjected to a raft of state and local government regulations seemingly designed to take the enjoyment out of the simplest of life’s pleasures.

Take the example of Town of Cottesloe, just one of 142 shires and municipal councils in the state, after it foreshadowed the banning of flying kites, hoisting over-sized beach umbrellas, playing with toy cars and drinking from glass bottles on an iconic stretch of beaches along the WA capital’s affluent western suburbs.

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  • BobbyDan says:

    02:44pm | 19/11/10

    T Chong:  You got it right in the last paragraph. My partners GP says all the words about not smoking and is seen having a puff in the back court yard of his surgery and in his car. My GP just shrugs and says, you’ve done all the damage you… Read more »

  • slowbreather says:

    02:34pm | 30/09/10

    There are people with heart/lung conditions such as heart disease, asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease and emphysema who can’t tolerate tobacco smoke as it makes them breathless. I am in this category and avoid places with lots of smokers, being in the vicinity of 1 smoker is about my limit.… Read more »


Hasluck is a relatively new seat and has always been marginal - changing at every election. Labor and Liberal Parties have each held the West Australian seat twice.

Ken Wyatt is his campaign office on election night. Photo/Marie Nirme

It is interesting reflecting back on any journey we take in life and remembering each event, which occurred during this time. In reflecting on the Hasluck campaign I have this sense that it was surreal, similar to the effect of a dream that leaves you unsure if it was real or imagined when you wake up. It’s real and I will always cherish the moments frozen in time and locked away in my memories.

My preselection as a candidate seems so long ago, and the whirlwind journey to become the elected member of Hasluck has been exciting and packed with experiences. Campaigns are extremely hard work buoyed by the people who support and work with you each day.

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  • Marilyn Shepherd says:

    03:57am | 21/09/10

    But why on earth would you want to be in the party who started two illegal wars and helped to murder over 1 million people in two countries while also locking up the victims of those wars? And who are trying to steal your brothers and sisters lands to give… Read more »

  • klr says:

    05:34pm | 20/09/10

    Ken, Congratulations. While you sat with those so experienced, I believe they would have looked at you with great pride and welcomed your own wealth of knowledge and experience that will be apart of the future of the Liberals. Gough Whitlam taught aborigines about welfare , it is now time… Read more »


There’s a Liberal campaign ad running frequently on Perth television that seeks to remind voters how reliant the rest of the country is on the Western Australian mining boom:

The country's only Liberal Premier with Liberal candidate for Hasluck Ken Wyatt. Picture: Lincoln Baker

“Labor = Labor’s cash cow” goes the punchline.

This plays into a common perception in the west: we’re the backbone of this economy and the bludgers over in the east are milking us dry.

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  • Pete says:

    10:51am | 21/08/10

    6000 jobs will go under Abbott so your a fortune teller now? If you cannot win an argument just make up some stats and people will believe you…. hmmm sounds like something that party would do.. what was it again… thats right LABOR! Wow impressive Read more »

  • Adrian says:

    04:00am | 21/08/10

    Sharyn Jackson is the only reason I will be voting labor. She is not only hard working, but she cares about her electorate and her door is always open to anyone who cares to drop in. If you havnt seen her in the electorate and you need to see her,… Read more »


Prime Minister Kevin Rudd gave no quarter, nor was any apparently sought, when he strode before the Perth Press Club on Wednesday to defend his resource super-profits tax.

Keep digging that hole. Illustration: John Tiedemann

Many in the Perth media felt the PM’s address provided the perfect backdrop from which Mr Rudd could make a form of policy detour, to deftly change tack, and to somehow head off a simmering confrontation with the nation’s powerful mining lobby - a swordfight that is showing every sign of looming into an electoral bloodbath in the state.

A Westpoll conducted for The West Australian a fortnight ago suggests the Federal Government is on a hiding to nothing in WA, with the prospect of it holding just two seats at the next election, Perth and Fremantle, from a possible 15. Labor holds only four in the state.

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  • John A Neve says:

    07:53pm | 15/06/10

    Eye4anEye, I don’t doubt your figures but didn’t the Howard government introduce the GST? Wasm’t it the Howard gonernmet that worked out the states reimburesment formula? If I am correct, what has it to do with Rudd? Read more »

  • Press says:

    07:31am | 15/06/10

    C’mon.  If you had a case, you’d have made it without the slather of loaded words. Spin, that’s all this is. More bloody spin. Read more »


UPDATE 12.40pm: WA Premier Colin Barnett just announced Troy Buswell has resigned as Treasurer

Back in 2002 when Laurie Oakes reported on the worst-kept secret in Canberra, that former Democrats darling Cheryl Kernot’s defection to the ALP had more to do with the charms of Foreign Minister Gareth Evans than the promise of a ministry, he set off a quite bitter debate among journalists over the relevance of politicians’ private lives.

I'm sorry ... again. Picture: Alf Sorbello

Glenn Milne was vocal in his criticism of his press gallery colleague’s decision to fill in the gaps Kernot left in her book Speaking for Myself Again. Lateline devoted a whole segment to the whys and what fors of Oakes’s actions, in which host Tony Jones wondered if the Nine political editor had “actually taken us over some rubicon here”.

WA Treasurer Troy Buswell is firmly in the private-lives-are-private camp, having dug his heels in this morning as he waits for his boss Colin Barnett to decide what to do about the fact Buswell has admitted an affair with a Greens MP, and also copped to using his tax payer-funded car to deliver him to his booty calls.

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  • www.thepunch.com.au says:

    03:46pm | 31/03/11

    Private might be private but stupid is still stupid.. Great idea Read more »

  • Eric says:

    01:20pm | 28/04/10

    The point is, Ellie, that feminists claim to be opposed to the type of sleazy behaviour demonstrated by men like Mr Buswell. Yet, they reward that behaviour with sex. Seems to be a bit of a contradiction there. Read more »


As Prime Minister Rudd was dancing around morning television selling his health deal with the states, Opposition leader Tony Abbott remerged from wherever he’s been hiding to lob a little policy smoke bomb.

According to The Australian today, Mr Abbott told a meeting with senior resource industry executives in Perth, he would like to see dole payments stopped to able bodied people under 30, in a bid to fill skill shortages in Western Australia and other mining areas crying out for labour.

The proposal has not been endorsed as party policy, but it does signal the direction the Liberal leader may take in debates about skill shortages and welfare during the election campaign.

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  • Labour Studies says:

    09:59pm | 03/06/10

    Not that I disagree with you but check the ABS stat’s - aggregate unemployment in Australia is currently at 5.3% - 5.2% for men and 5.5% for women Read more »

  • Stephen says:

    08:08pm | 24/04/10

    Mayday, I don’t necessarily disagree with what you are saying, when I see the amount of people smoking their lives away on pot and god knows what, I have to wonder what could be done, but I fear that denying benefits for them to get their hold on such things… Read more »


Is it any wonder Western Australian Nationals leader Brendon Grylls is telling his federal cousins to split from the Coalition.

Shopping in Perth is a part-time obsession

Here in the wild, wild, west the Nationals no longer get sand kicked in their faces – thanks to a deal they struck with the Liberals 12 months ago.

Liberal leader Colin Barnett needed three National Party seats and help from a handful of Independents to form government in 2008.

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  • wa says:

    10:42am | 05/09/12

    Why should we change anything? I say stay the same until the end of the world. I do not buy clothes, we do not have any no way not in wa, no clothes today, no way not in wa. hey! i do not want clothes today its not ok, i… Read more »

  • Sheridan says:

    01:42am | 12/09/09

    I would like the shops to be open until 9pm 6 days a week at least and 5pm on Sundays. I am sick and tired of Perth catching up with everything else in the world without having any of the the things that other cities take for granted. If we… Read more »


Slack-jawed Queenslanders from Logan, Roma and Warwick, brooding hermits in remote South Australian hamlets who can’t explain the sudden disappearance of their parents, Tasmanians who get on a bit too well with their cousins…stand aside the lot of you.

Perth commuters wait for the 2.52 pm bus to Cottesloe

As of this weekend’s referendum, Western Australia is officially the most backward state in Australia. The state that’s synonymous with sun has embraced darkness for an extraordinary third time, with a majority of sandgropers siding with the cows and the curtains to reject the devilish communist plot known as daylight savings.

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  • Luke says:

    09:58pm | 09/02/11

    Of all the stuff that happens in western australia… daylight savings is the thing you write about? The only reason we have so much discussion on daylight savings is because the WA people say no… and the eastern staters keep bringing it up because they arent getting the answer they… Read more »

  • Shelly says:

    10:59am | 01/06/09

    And WA had the balls and the brains to give bad ALP state government the finger. For example; NSW keep voting for state ALP. It doesn’t look like there’s any brains there to follow This reminds me of a joke I was sent. The gist of it is on old… Read more »


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