The Western Australian Liberal Party have voted 89-73 in favour of secession from the rest of the nation. If the State gets its way, it would become an independent nation with its own passport, diplomatic relations and possibly its own currency, all while being attached to the Australian mainland and remaining as part of the Commonwealth.
The push for isolationism is partially fuelled by the state becoming increasingly disgruntled by their share of GST. Western Australia currently receives a 34 cent return on every dollar contribution towards GST, the lowest of any other State. The disdain towards these figures has been bolstered by the fact that while Western Australia holds roughly 10% of the Australian population, the State contributes almost 15% of the nations GDP, and is responsible for 46% of Australia’s exports, making it the country’s most productive state.
So, at least economically, it sounds like the State may in fact be able to stand on its own two feet, and hypothetically, could even become more prosperous.
But Western Australian secession isn’t exactly a new topic. The resource rich province of the Hutt Valley in Western Australia has been testing these waters since the 1970s.
The Principality of Hutt River is a breakaway micro nation located slightly north of Perth. It has a land size of 75 square kilometres, making it slightly larger than comparable micro nations and has roughly 30 full time residents.
Similarly, the separation came amid an economical feud with the Australian government regarding wheat sales in 1970. Since then, the nation has acquired its own passports, currency (Hutt River dollar) and even declared war on Australia in 1977.
Comedic as it is, The Hutt River feels more like a novelty charged tourist attraction than an independent state. Its regular discrepancies with the Australian Taxation Office also prove that its not so easy to simply break away from the overlords in Canberra.
While The Hutt River is far from a viable roadmap to secession, it does seem unlikely that Western Australia’s movement will get the slack it needs to become reality. I daresay Australia’s export dependent economy is going to be fairly reluctant to forego 46% of export revenue anytime soon.