A “yes vote” by Western Australian MPs to "financially secede" from the rest of Australia been slammed by the opposition as a “vote of no confidence” in Malcolm Turnbull.
Yesterday, Western Australia's Liberal party conference voted in favour of a motion to financially step away from the rest of the country in a move that’s being dubbed “WAxit”, AAP reports.
Passing 89-73, the non-binding policy motion, which was put forward by the Brand division, is calling for the establishment of a committee "to examine the option of WA becoming an independent state within the Commonwealth".
Federal Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said it was "a real vote of no confidence" in Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership.
"It's pretty terrible isn't it that the West Australian branch of the Liberal Party have so little faith in Malcolm Turnbull and his government that they want to leave the federation that they're part of," she told reporters in Sydney.
Liberal Senator Mathias Corman said WA would remain an important part of the federation.
"The motion which was adopted was very different to the one that was originally proposed," he said.
"To explore ways to become more financially independent from the Commonwealth is something that I would encourage all states to do."
WA State president Norman Moore says the vote indicates unhappiness among Western Australians, particularly Liberal party members.
“Because we're a long way from Canberra, we feel that we're being ignored and our interests aren't being taken into consideration by both sides of politics,” he said.
Mr Moore, who previously believed WA should be a separate country, said fiscal independence could be achieved by government decree.
He suggested states raise all personal income tax and company tax, and pay the Commonwealth for the services it provides, creating "a bit of competitive federalism".
But he conceded it was unlikely to happen, adding: "I don't know if any federal government is ever going to agree to give away authority. That's the nature of politics: it's all about power."