David Leyonhjelm on welfare for the states

David’s op. ed. The Financial Review

Most Australians support some degree of welfare for the needy, where a taxpayer effectively transfers money to a non-taxpayer. But many do not realise there is a bizarre welfare system sitting on top of this, in which taxpaying states effectively transfer billions of dollars to non-taxpaying states.

This welfare system involves two states – Western Australia and New South Wales – transferring funds to the other states and territories. WA transfers $20 billion a year, equivalent to more than $8,000 a year from each West Australian, while NSW transfers more than $2 billion a year, over $300 per person.

Out of this system Tasmania and the Northern Territory draw nearly $4 billion a year each. That means each Tasmanian, rich or poor, gets nearly $8,000 per year from the people of WA and NSW while Northern Territorians get more than $16,000.

The state-to-state welfare system is complicated and to unravel it is no easy task. Some think it simply involves the GST, but that only plays a small part. Of the $8,000 a year that each West Australian transfers to the east, only $600 is a result of paying GST to Canberra.

The real cause of the system is the Commonwealth government’s collection and use of income tax revenues.

The workers of WA and NSW tend to earn higher wages than other Australians, and thus pay more personal income tax – particularly because of the euphemistically named ‘progressive’ system where the taxman takes a higher and higher share of your income as your income rises. The businesses of these states also tend to earn higher profits than businesses elsewhere and pay more company tax as a result.

These higher wages and profits are partly a result of some natural or historical advantages enjoyed in those states, but they are also the result of hard work and risk-taking. In addition, the state governments in WA and NSW play a role through building the infrastructure that underpins business activity, and by approving developments despite political opposition.

The income taxes disproportionately paid by the people of WA and NSW tend not to find their way back to those states. For instance, the Commonwealth government uses the revenue to fund unemployment payments. As unemployment is relatively low in WA and NSW, these states get little benefit. The government’s failure to require recipients of unemployment payments to move to places with better employment prospects, like WA and NSW, serves to entrench the problem.

The Commonwealth government also uses the income taxes paid by the people of WA and NSW to scatter grants across the country for public housing, public schools and public hospitals. These grants are insidious. Not only do they result in bureaucracies in Canberra that duplicate those in the state capitals and undermine the states in carrying out their own responsibilities, but they also discourage people in economically-depressed states and territories from moving to where economic prospects are brighter.

In addition, they discourage people in those states from supporting local economic development. After all, if there are public services funded by economic growth generated elsewhere, why bother trying to generate economic growth at home?

For many reasons the state-to-state welfare system should be abandoned. But this will not occur by simply tinkering with the distribution of GST revenues. It requires a marked reduction in Commonwealth income taxes, a rejection of ‘progressive’ taxation and unconditional unemployment benefits, and the withdrawal of the Commonwealth government from areas best managed by state and territory Governments.

Australia was established as a federation in the expectation that the states would compete with each other to create the most jobs and prosperity, and most pleasant environment in which to live. The steady concentration of powers in Canberra, especially the power to levy taxes, has seriously undermined their ability to chart their own course.

If this is to change, it won’t be led by the states that benefit from state-to-state welfare. It will be up to the people of WA and NSW to return Australia to genuine federalism.

David Leyonhjelm is the Liberal Democrats’ Senator-elect for NSW

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190 Responses to David Leyonhjelm on welfare for the states

  1. Ubique

    Are there any more like David Leyonhjelm or did they break the mould when he was made? He may be from NSW but he has the heart of a sandgroper.

  2. Anto

    Time for WA to secede. Perth’s further away from Canberra than Wellington is.

  3. duncanm

    Why is my immediate reaction that this is radical thinking, when it is all so commonsense?

    Thank you David.

  4. johanna

    While it is true that currently it is NSW and WA footing the bills, it should be pointed out that for most of its history, WA was a mendicant State supported by NSW and Victoria. In fact, NSW and Victoria have supported everyone else until very recently.

    Nevertheless, the central point that the redistributive powers of the Commonwealth create perverse incentives is correct.

  5. Infidel Tiger

    WA was a mendicant State supported by NSW and Victoria.

    Yeah, all those terrific subsidised and heavily protected industries NSW and Victoria had that kept the nation in bread and water for a century.

    Give me a break. NSW may have paid it’s way, but Victoria has been a mooching swine in one form or another since the goldrush ended.

  6. Mike of Marion

    You watch the greenfilth bottom feeders declare war on this man and the LDP.

  7. H B Bear

    The first step to creating a competitive federation is to eliminate Federal grants to the States completely and give the States income tax powers alongside the commonwealth. Health and education should be made a wholly State responsibility too to eliminate the never ending buck passing.

    People would very quickly learn not to put up with the second rate governance that is seen across all jurisdictions at State level.

  8. sdfc

    Johanna

    No state has ever sent so much of its income to Canberra as WA is currently sending. We voted to leave in the 30s but you wouldn’t let us go.

  9. johanna

    IT, the facts are otherwise. We are talking about internal redistribution of taxes. The fact is, mainly for population reasons, NSW and Vic between them generated the overwhelming majority of Commonwealth tax revenue. Indeed, if you take income tax into account, they probably still do.

  10. Tintarella di Luna

    David Leyonhjelm talks so much sense, that’s why the Left will be vicious. I wish the LDP would win a Senate seat and knock out the garrulous nitwit Scott Ludlum

  11. jumpnmcar

    THIS !!
    This, and other like issues, is the fertile ground the LDP can grow on.
    ( and a name change )

  12. Tintarella di Luna

    If Barnett secedes I’m going, there’s so much room over there too.

  13. jumpnmcar

    I,d be interested in the QLD give/take numbers David, if your listening.

  14. David

    Secession, separation, independence – call it what you will it is a crap notion. We are one nation on the largest island on the planet where we all share a common heritage in our systems of government, law and individual freedom and it is not separation we need but unity to preserve an almost unique way of life. Individual States have waxed and waned in their contribution to the Federated well-being and people should be mindful that the individual fortunes of a State can change in a very short period of time and be prepared to assist those who are for the time being at the bottom of fortune’s wheel.

  15. jupes

    I wish the LDP would win a Senate seat and knock out the garrulous nitwit Scott Ludlum

    I wish they win every Senate seat in WA. Or at least enough to hold the balance of power.

    How did Australia get itself in the situation where a fat idiot buffoon will probably hold more power than a sensible bloke like Dave?

  16. sdfc

    No David we think you are a butch of wankers.

  17. Bertie_Wooster

    Bravo.
    The remarkable thing about this is that Leyonhjelm not only has the right outlook and a sharp mind, but that he writes so succinctly and thoughtfully that he will, opportunities provided, actually win people over.
    I’d go and work in his office in a heartbeat. (I wonder whether he’ll read these comments..?)

    I recall the discussions I had with friends about his speeding article and was prompted to recall this gem from the ‘net – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdyKAIhLdNs – Milton Friedman scorching Michael Moore. Enjoy.

  18. Bruce J

    WA was a mendicant State supported by NSW and Victoria. .

    A fairly common tale that only really applied in the 1950′s. Without Kalgoorlie’s gold up until WWII, Australia would have been in big trouble and W.A. was so sick of supporting other states that in 1933 it voted to secede from the Commonwealth. When Kalgoorlie threatened to secede from WA (all those immigrant Eastern States miners) and stay with the East, the state secession was dropped. The secession motion is still valid and WA does not need another vote to go.

    From the late 1960′s when Newman and Tom Price became productive, WA has again become a net contributor to the Commonwealth.

  19. Senile Old Guy

    It will be up to the people of WA and NSW to return Australia to genuine federalism.

    And am I just being old and cynical wondering how loudly he would be beating this drum if his home state was on the receiving end of this “welfare”? Perhaps I am.

  20. johanna

    David, I agree, which is why I pointed out that after 100 years of taking handouts, WA is suddenly gung-ho because of the resources boom and wants to withhold their share of the nation’s bounty.

    There is a delicate balance between perverse incentives and maintaining a functioning Federation. For example, it would be interesting to see how WA would cope with defending its vast territory and waters with a population of 2.5 million people, and a narrow and precarious tax base. Especially once all the existing defence facilities and personnel were closed down and withdrawn.

    All those hairy-chested secessionists should be careful what they wish for.

  21. johanna

    Bruce J, that’s a myth much beloved in the West, but is simply not true. WA’s population was tiny compared to NSW/Vic, and its income tax revenue was tiny also. The Australian economy, back in the days when it was much more dependent on agricultural production, and later manufacturing, was overwhelmingly concentrated in the eastern states.

    The Commonwealth Grants Commission has been subsidising WA via the revenues from other States until very recently.

  22. H B Bear

    And am I just being old and cynical wondering how loudly he would be beating this drum if his home state was on the receiving end of this “welfare”?

    The first step is to create a Federal-State taxation system that allows for the development of an Australian “Texas” – a genuine low tax, low regulation pro-business jurisdiction. Currently this can only be done at the margins around payroll tax, workers comp etc and under the various fiscal equalization schemes there is little incentive to do so anyway.

    Probably the closest Australia ever had was Queensland under Bjelke-Petersen in the late 70s-early 80s.

  23. Ian of Perth

    Excellent commonsense however I fear that there is no way we will ever see Canberra cede any power back to the states. Their ‘only’ goal is to grow the size of their trough.

  24. Cold-Hands

    This will really give the Moochers in March something to rail against.

  25. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Kalgoorlie threatened to secede from W.A.

    It was only the votes of those self same miners around Kalgoorlie that took Western Australia into Federation in the first place.

  26. Johno

    give the States income tax powers alongside the commonwealth.

    Fraser gave the States that power 40 years ago. None of them have ever been interested in doing anything about it. They prefer the Cwth to have to raise the $$$ and bitch about the Cwth not providing them with enough to fund the services they are suppose to provide.

  27. Grogory M

    WTF? Thanks all you donkey voters. You gave us this dill as a Senator-elect for NSW. FFS – bring on a double dissolution and let’s see the back of him as soon as possible. Are we a nation, or are we a disparate bunch of potential secessionists interested only in looking after number one? David needs to do much more reading about COAG and the role of Commonwealth/State financial arrangements in seeking to ensure that parts of the country that need assistance at a particular point of time should be given a hand up by those that are relatively better-off at the same point in time. That is how we, as a nation, have operated since Federation and it’s how we should continue to operate for the benefit of the country as a whole.

  28. jumpnmcar

    I’m no expert, but it seems to me, if the States put a sunset provision on income tax in 1915 this country would have a stronger Federation of States today.

  29. sdfc

    It is clearly ridiculous to equate the income transfers to WA in the past with WA’s current contribution.

    WA has long been a resources driven economy. Recently is some time ago.

    The way it’s going, we’ll have all that “largesse” paid back in no time at all.

  30. Senile Old Guy

    It is clearly ridiculous to equate the income transfers to WA in the past with WA’s current contribution.

    Why? It is certainly convenient, for WA, to claim so. And when you do those calculations, make sure that the value is adjusted according to the time it was spent: $1000 back then being worth rather more than a $1000 now.

  31. sdfc

    Name one state in any year that has paid anywhere near as great a share to its income than WA is now.

  32. jumpnmcar

    From the top story

    WA transfers $20 billion a year, equivalent to more than $8,000 a year from each West Australian,

    What % of the said ” Western Australians ” are temporary economic migrants and FIFO from other States?
    Actually, does Mr Lionhelmet divulge the source of these numbers?

  33. Grigory M

    So – my comment inadvertently posted under the name of Grogory M has disappeared. Why is it so?

  34. Rabz

    So – my comment inadvertently posted under the name of Grogory M has disappeared. Why is it so?

    Because the Perfesser is not at your beck and call.

  35. Gab

    So – my comment inadvertently posted under the name of Grogory M has disappeared. Why is it so?

    One of life’s great mysteries.

  36. sdfc

    Even assuming all the FIFO workers live elsewhere the number pales into insignificance with the rise in population. Prosperous economies generally suck in people from less prosperous economies.

    The current level of transfers is absurd.

  37. Grigory M

    Because the Perfesser is not at your beck and call.

    Rabz – I didn’t say he was, and I don’t expect him to be. But I would like my comment re-instated.

  38. sdfc

    Should we delve into the efficiency of WA residents sending income all the way to Canberra and then having some of it sent back?

  39. politichix

    OMG! My comment hasn’t appeared

    If you are posting your very first comment at the Cat it won’t appear until I approve it. If I do approve it, your subsequent comments should appear. If your very first comment is indistinguishable from Spam it probably won’t appear.

    If you can’t spell your name or email address then the Cat system may think you are a new commenter. The system will then hold your comment for approval. You’d be surprised how often this happens.

  40. politichix

    sorry should have block quoted . . .

    Fixed (RC) :)

  41. Grigory M

    Evening, politichix – you reading is quite good. Been here long?

  42. Oh come on

    WA was a mendicant State supported by NSW and Victoria.

    I’m sure this is correct. I’d love to know exactly how many times over that debt’s been repaid.

  43. Motelier

    Grigory M,

    Read and learn.

    The Cat Files has it all.

  44. politichix

    Hi Grigory, no not long.

  45. Grigory M

    Norman – how’s Mother? Janet Leigh will be here soon ;)

  46. The Pugilist

    Johanna, WA was ‘taking handouts’ because joining the federation damaged their interests in the first place. Infidel tiger is right. The agricultural and mining industries were damaged by joining a federation dominated by the protectionist, industrial eastern states and the institutional framework they imposed on the west. No wonder wa was reluctant to sign up initially and voted two to one to secede in 1933. The cgc was set up to appease them and is now a tool to abuse them…

  47. Perth Trader

    Jumpnmcar. FIFO and Temp. economic migrants would pay there taxes in the state of residence. Therefore your point is mute. The payroll taxes paid for said workers are state taxes, therefore kept by each state.I think Leyonjhelms article is pointing out that subsidies to dead or dieing industries ie Ford, GMH etc and in general monies used to support lazy people comes from the taxes collected from the more robust states and that this is unfair . Tasmania is a classic example to us that a state that had a robust economy can have its industry closed down yet still survive on Fed. Govt, handouts, grants or support. The NT or any other states that need financial support to build industries so they can in the future support themselves is the crux of his argument.

  48. Motelier

    I always thought that the Federation of the State was to remove taxation from the states to allow a more equitable distribution.

    I also thought the implementation of the GST was to remove a whole raft of inefficient taxes at the state level with the GST providing compensation.

    The problem we have is that all levels of government that we have are inefficient managers of our money. The other problem is overlap of government responsibilities.

  49. Habib

    Don’t agree with the assumption that most Australians support the transfer of income from themselves to the idle, feckless, entitlement addled, and the openly parasitic. The recipients of this legislated larceny overwhelmingly support it, as most are too lazy and cowardly to do the work themselves, and blag your gaff while you’re at work. There are a growing number of exceptions however, encouraged by the same government disarming its employers.

    Charity should be the domain of charities, income insurance the business of underwriters; government should be the last option, and at a level that could only be described as parsimonious, stingy, or a breach of international human rights. I’m personally partial to the return of the workhouse, should centralised authority be deemed to be responsible for the indigent.

  50. sdfc

    The states receive no more of the tax revenue as a % of GDP than they did before the GST. It was a transfer of yet more taxing power to the Commonwealth.

    The current situation stifles competition between the states.

  51. Grigory M

    Shame that comment disappeared – I thought it had some relevance. Ah well – as far as I recall, I did say that David L is a dill who was delivered by the donkey vote as a NSW Senator-elect. And that we might get rid of him if there is a double dissolution. And that we, as a nation, should be more than just a bunch of potential secessionists. And that he needs to read up on COAG and Commonwealth/State financial relations to find out that we ,as a nation, need to ensure that those states less well off at a particular point in time are supported by those states that are better off at that point in time. And that this is how it has worked since Federation, and should continue to do so into the future.

  52. Motelier

    Don’t agree with the assumption that most Australians support the transfer of income from themselves to the idle, feckless, entitlement addled, and the openly parasitic.

    +1

    While this is about State welfare it should include all forms of welfare.

    Our southern motel has an underground coal mine startup (Thanks Gina) happening in the next 3 to 4 years.

    The local, do nothing numpties are already up in arms about the effects it will have on the local economy. This is while the local unemployment rate is over 10%. This has me so confused.

    Welfare should be based on a return on investment. If the terms and conditions of any welfare go outside of the terms and conditions, then the welfare should be cut.

    I hate to say it but if the numpties get up, then I will wholly support a cut of welfare to any businesses that receive any welfare, along with government and, all private citizens.

    :(

  53. sdfc

    No this is not the way it has worked since Federation. The states didn’t sign up for this.

  54. johanna

    pugilist, at the time of Federation, industry was a very small component of the economy. Agriculture was the biggie – remember, we “rode on the sheep’s back”. And most of those sheep were not in WA, nor were the cattle. While WA has always had mining, so have the other States.

    But the biggie is that Commonwealth revenue was heavily population-dependent, and still is. NSW still has about a third of the nation’s population, and had an even higher proportion in the early days.

    No matter how you spin it, there is no question that WA has benefited from the wealth generated by NSW and Victoria from Day 1, and now that the good times are rolling, is crying foul. The WA tax base, especially for the first 80 years, could not possibly provide them with the roads, schools and hospitals that they needed – they got grants from the Commonwealth every single year for “equalisation” purposes. In adjusted terms, it will take a very long time before that money is repaid, especially bearing in mind that NSW in particular has plenty of rural and remote areas in need of assistance for services as well.

    The bottom line is, for many decades, people in Bourke and Broken Hill and Nyngan got less money for schools and hospitals and roads so that people in WA got something. Same goes for people in rural Victoria.

    The point is, slanging matches between States are unproductive and rather like arguments between kids at a birthday party – “he got a bigger piece than me, waaah!”

    The real issue is reforming the Federation to remove perverse incentives – one of which is the tendency of State governments to blame the Commonwealth for their own shortcomings while refusing to take responsibility for raising the revenue themselves.

  55. Tel

    David Leyonhjelm talks so much sense, that’s why the Left will be vicious. I wish the LDP would win a Senate seat and knock out the garrulous nitwit Scott Ludlum

    They are too busy hating Tony Abbott. Expecting them to hate two people at once (for different reasons even) is probably unreasonable.

    Ludlum did a good job of blocking Stephen Conroy on the Internet Filter… not out of principle mind you, just pure Green self interest. If any government of the day gets their hands on an Internet Filter (or any type of censorship) the first thing they will do is use it to block minor parties. Ludlum is bright enough to understand this.

    Funniest thing, if you read the transcript of questions between Conroy and Ludlum, you can see all the places that Conroy starts getting all smart-arse and insulting and then feeling clever about himself… this is when Ludlum’s vote was actually required to get the legislation through. Way to make friends and influence people.

  56. sdfc

    No WA is being ripped of income as no other state in history.

  57. The Pugilist

    The real issue is reforming the Federation to remove perverse incentives – one of which is the tendency of State governments to blame the Commonwealth for their own shortcomings while refusing to take responsibility for raising the revenue themselves.

    There’s a small problem known as ‘the High Court’ that prevents states from taking back responsibility. I’d love to see a reversal of the current situation – the states should take back income tax powers and leave the commonwealth with the gst…

  58. Tel

    No this is not the way it has worked since Federation. The states didn’t sign up for this.

    The states clearly put wording into the Constitution ensuring that the burden of Commonwealth spending would be evenly spread. The intention is absolutely unmistakable.

    However, the lawyers did an end run by setting up a system where the Commonwealth taxes more than it needs and then unfairly redistributes the remainder. This was never the original plan and every single person who has looked into it knows I’m right. An additional Constitutional clause should be inserted that the Commonwealth cannot pay any money to the states, not a drop.

  59. Tel

    The real issue is reforming the Federation to remove perverse incentives – one of which is the tendency of State governments to blame the Commonwealth for their own shortcomings while refusing to take responsibility for raising the revenue themselves.

    I believe that my suggestion fixes this.

  60. Cato the Elder

    Seems to me that the States let go of Income Tax during WW II and the centralists in Canberra wouldn’t let go. To be fair, the Commonwealth had to pay off the war debt, so probably had to keep the revenue for a while. Then they liked it.

  61. sdfc

    You can’t separate tax transfers from the redistribution. No that states didn’t sign up for this.

  62. politichix

    I can live with the idea of some degree of transfer between states but only to maintain a minimal level of government service. Habib’s comment can apply up the chain:

    Don’t agree with the assumption that most Australians support the transfer of income from themselves their state to the idle, feckless, entitlement addled, and the openly parasitic states. The recipients of this legislated larceny overwhelmingly support it, as most are too lazy and cowardly to do the work themselves, and blag your gaff while you’re at work. There are a growing number of exceptions however, encouraged by the same federal government disarming its employers the states.

  63. Cato the Elder

    Power is addictive. Money is power. I think the last government to abolish the income tax was England after the Napoleonic wars. They are all (both sides) utterly convinced that they know what to do better than anyone else, so why would they let go?

  64. Gab

    No matter how you spin it, there is no question that WA has benefited from the wealth generated by NSW and Victoria from Day 1,

    That’s not quite true. All states received monies from the Commonwealth since Federation in the form of special grants and WA has repaid her debt tenfold. Other states – with the exception of QLD – have not so much.

    If anyone is interested in the history, there’s a decent paper on it here.

    pdf version

  65. Grigory M

    No this is not the way it has worked since Federation. The states didn’t sign up for this.

    sdfc – you were there, of course. At the pre-Federation meetings and discussions. Clearly, your input ensured that States’ rights were to be protected by ensuring that each had the same number of Senators. And at COAG Meetings and discussions which set the terms for “cutting-up-the-pie” under successive Commonwealth/State Financial Agreements – no doubt you pushed for a ‘dollar-in dollar-returned’ arrangement (well, pounds in those days) – and at other meetings towards mid-century where the States handed their taxing responsibilities over to the Commonwealth. Such knowledge needs to be shared with the “hoi-poloi”, those of us not previously given entrée to such matters. So, show us your minutes and notes to verify your account of these things.

  66. Gab

    No this is not the way it has worked since Federation. The states didn’t sign up for this.

    True. The Commonwealth first took control of state revenues under the guise of the War II effort and was supposed to relinquish this after the war. Of course, that never happened.

  67. Ah, the Constitution. If we uphold the Constitution where’s the Inter-State Commission?

    101 Inter-State Commission
    There shall be an Inter‑State Commission, with such powers of adjudication and administration as the Parliament deems necessary for the execution and maintenance, within the Commonwealth, of the provisions of this Constitution relating to trade and commerce, and of all laws made thereunder.

  68. politichix

    Regardless of the how we got to this point, the unanswerable is how we undo it.

  69. Nads

    It is hard to see the system changing any time soon – or indeed how reform could possibly be ignited. Addressing the competitive advantage of smaller states via their massive parliamentary over-representation would be a good start.

  70. The Pugilist

    That’s not quite true. All states received monies from the Commonwealth since Federation in the form of special grants and WA has repaid her debt tenfold. Other states – with the exception of QLD – have not so much.

    The zero sum game that exists now is actually quite recent. It was only in the 1970s that commonwealth untied assistance were a fixed pool of money.

  71. Cato the Elder

    Regardless of the how we got to this point, the unanswerable is how we undo it.

    The last person who could have devolved income tax back to the States would have been Howard, when there was a surplus and no net debt. Abbott will have to keep the revenue for a while, until the deficit is under control, or better yet eliminated

  72. Motelier

    The last person who could have devolved income tax back to the States would have been Howard, when there was a surplus and no net debt. Abbott will have to keep the revenue for a while, until the deficit is under control, or better yet eliminated

    And Howard had a surplus. Produced under a time when yes revenues were growing, but it was good management by Costello and Howard. Costello would not allow ministers to expand their budgets, Howard supported his Treasurer.

  73. The Pugilist

    The last person who could have devolved income tax back to the States would have been Howard, when there was a surplus and no net debt. Abbott will have to keep the revenue for a while, until the deficit is under control, or better yet eliminated

    Saw an interesting oped in the oz yesterday about the commonwealth fixing their budget by giving powers to tax and responsibilities to spend back to the states…I think it was written by Greg Craven??? Worth a read.

  74. Grigory M

    Addressing the competitive advantage of smaller states via their massive parliamentary over-representation would be a good start.

    Don’t know that “competitive advantage” applies here. Or that “massive parliamentary over-representation” is a fair description. The whole purpose of having equal Senate seat numbers was because the Senate was supposed to be a States’ House representing the interests of the States, and that none should be advantaged to the disadvantage of others. That honorable aim has since been totally perverted by the Party System, whereby both Houses of Parliament now represent only the interests of the political Parties.

  75. sdfc

    The Commonwealth is a parasite there is no way they will give up their taxing powers.

  76. johanna

    Gab, yes, but where did the money come from in the first place? Why, from tax revenues, predominantly from the most populous States.

    So, NSW puts in $10 and gets $7 back in Commonwealth grants – the rest goes to the other States. Why should NSW be liable to “repay” the $7?

  77. Cato the Elder

    Worth a read.

    Yes, it is. My point is that the States won’t take on the debt, so the Commonwealth can’t devolve the taxing power until they have cleaned up the debt. And by then they’ll be addicted.

  78. sdfc

    If the states had the revenue of course they could take on the proportional amount of debt.

    Transferring more taxing powers to the states would reduce inefficiency.

  79. Oh come on

    The WA tax base, especially for the first 80 years, could not possibly provide them with the roads, schools and hospitals that they needed

    Health, education and welfare – the sectors which chew up most government spending – have only been particularly burdensome since WA was a net contributor to the federal pot. The argument that WA has been a net receiver of Commonwealth money far long than it’s been a net contributor is flawed, because during the time WA was a net receiver, Commonwealth expenditure was relatively small.

    WA has more or less bankrolled the Commonwealth’s ascendancy over the states.

  80. sdfc

    The WA tax base, especially for the first 80 years, could not possibly provide them with the roads, schools and hospitals that they needed

    Rubbish

  81. JC

    Imagine for a second… a split second working for Fairfax in the newsroom at peak time.

    You look around and there’s barking mad Betty, Ross Gittins, Clementine Ford, Peter Hartcher, Ben Cubby, Butch Carlton, Mark Kenny, Tim Soutphommasane. You’d break the window with a fireman’s axe and jump, no?

  82. Poor Old Rafe

    “Grogory” comment now approved at 8.08.

    I forgot that I had access to the process. But only on my own threads. (Though this was a guest post).

  83. JC

    SDFC,

    You realize what you really are, right? You’re a leftie who seems very concerned with borders- state centric which resembles nationalism. Basically that means you’re a fascist. A fascist is a leftwinger with nationalist aspirations.

  84. sdfc

    Shit Grogory are you really using the you were there so how would you know argument?

    Clearly the Commonwealth’s powers would be as they are now in 1901 if this was the intent.

  85. Cato the Elder

    If the states had the revenue of course they could take on the proportional amount of debt.

    Yes they could; but no they won’t.

    Transferring more taxing powers to the states would reduce inefficiency.

    Yes it would but it won’t happen until and unless the accrued debt is dealt with.

  86. sdfc

    you were not there argument. Too many beers.

  87. politichix

    Public service – scrolling sux the big one

    Grogory M
    #1233900, posted on March 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    WTF? Thanks all you donkey voters. You gave us this dill as a Senator-elect for NSW. FFS – bring on a double dissolution and let’s see the back of him as soon as possible. Are we a nation, or are we a disparate bunch of potential secessionists interested only in looking after number one? David needs to do much more reading about COAG and the role of Commonwealth/State financial arrangements in seeking to ensure that parts of the country that need assistance at a particular point of time should be given a hand up by those that are relatively better-off at the same point in time. That is how we, as a nation, have operated since Federation and it’s how we should continue to operate for the benefit of the country as a whole.

  88. sdfc

    I think WA would. We are being ripped off.

  89. David of Adelagado

    Its one country. ‘States’ are just lines on a map. Take away the lines and the argument collapses. Most West Australians don’t live any closer to ‘their’ mines than I do. And I’m in S.A. You could take this silly argument to the lowest common denominator . Why should the residents of a rich suburb pay more tax that the residents of of an adjacent poor suburb? Or why should I pay more tax than the guy next door? Wealth is redistributed so that the whole country gets evenly developed and and enjoys roughly equal services.

  90. Grigory M

    “Grogory” comment now approved at 8.08.

    Thanks, Rafe. My own fault, entirely.

  91. JC

    I think WA would. We are being ripped off.

    But, but the money is used to help needy states like Tasmania and South Australia. It’s redistribution which you ought to love.

  92. politichix

    Seriously, I don’t think you could accuse David’s of being a secessionist.

  93. JC

    Funny that,. SDFC. At basically a 50% top tax rate most people feel ripped off. I’m a little amused you would find WS being ripped off.

  94. Cato the Elder

    I think WA would. We are being ripped off.

    I’m sure many in WA think they are. I’m not sure how it works out over time. In any case, you would need more than one State to pull it off, you’d need the Commonwealth on board and a majority of the States, almost like a referendum.

  95. Grigory M

    Shit Grogory are you really using the you were there so how would you know argument?

    Shit sdfc – I think my comment in that vein can be viewed as being as facetious as almost all of your comments on this thread. Granted, yours have been more concise.

  96. JC

    Oops 10.16 comment was meant for the open fred.

  97. Grigory M

    you were not there argument. Too many beers.

    You’ve had too many beers? Does that come under current Commonwealth/State Financial Arrangements? What’s WAs quota?

  98. sdfc

    Have I upset you Grigory?

  99. Grigory M

    Have I upset you Grigory?

    Not that I’ve noticed, sdfc. Why do you ask?

  100. sdfc

    Grigory

    Because you’re not making any sense. Just how have I been facetious?

  101. Motelier

    WTF? Thanks all you donkey voters. You gave us this dill as a Senator-elect for NSW. FFS – bring on a double dissolution and let’s see the back of him as soon as possible. Are we a nation, or are we a disparate bunch of potential secessionists interested only in looking after number one? David needs to do much more reading about COAG and the role of Commonwealth/State financial arrangements in seeking to ensure that parts of the country that need assistance at a particular point of time should be given a hand up by those that are relatively better-off at the same point in time. That is how we, as a nation, have operated since Federation and it’s how we should continue to operate for the benefit of the country as a whole.</blockquote

    Ahem,

    Voters have the right to vote once under our system of democracy. To disparage those put in a donkey vote is a start for a plea for a change to the current Electoral Act. Please tell everyone on here where you want to make changes to the current electoral act.

    I personally have no problem with those people that either fill in a voting form (1 through to whatever), and those that just fill in the boxes. Hell, I have no problem with my MIL going to vote, getting her name signed off and then placing an unfilled ballot paper in the box because she could not remember who she wanted to vote for.

    I do not even want to electronic voting in our great country, I am however considering a dye marker for those that have voted.

    You really are a concern troll.

  102. Grigory M

    Because you’re not making any sense. Just how have I been facetious?

    Oi – I always make sense. Your comments have seemed to me to be mostly “tongue-in-cheek”, ergo – facetious. It’s a compliment, not a criticism.

  103. Grigory M

    Ah, Norman – don’t you need to see someone at Reception?

  104. sdfc

    How are my comments about WA being ripped off tongue in cheek? Do you doubt true that WA is paying a greater share of net income to the Commonwealth than any state in history?

  105. johanna

    OK, sfdc, here’s the deal.

    We’ll demolish all the roads, schools, hospitals etc that other States have paid for since Federation. We’ll also close down all the Defence facilities and ship the personnel East. Then, you’re on your own.

    How’s that sound?

  106. Tel

    The last person who could have devolved income tax back to the States would have been Howard, when there was a surplus and no net debt. Abbott will have to keep the revenue for a while, until the deficit is under control, or better yet eliminated

    Put through a Constitution amendment preventing the Commonwealth from collecting tax on behalf of other levels of government. They cannot redistribute what they collect to anyone else. Watch how fast the deficit gets under control.

  107. JC

    Do you doubt true that WA is paying a greater share of net income to the Commonwealth than any state in history?

    No, not at all. In fact I believe that 110%. However I note the incongruity of a self-described leftwinger screaming about the unfairness of redistribution.

  108. sdfc

    Idiotic denial of the truth that WA is paying more in net income than any other state in history Johanna. WA’s infrastructure has been paid from WA income. If you evidence it hasn’t please share.

  109. Infidel tiger

    Just as long as we all agree that Canberra and everyone who resides there are a massive net drain on the country and we’d better off if the whole place was sealed off and nuked.

  110. TonyOrlando

    Why stop at interstate transfers?
    I bet far more revenue is transferred within states.

    I say all taxes should be spent only in the post code it is collected in. Those parasites in Esperance and Armidale have had it good for too long

  111. Grigory M

    Do you doubt true that WA is paying a greater share of net income to the Commonwealth than any state in history?

    sdfc – heh, heh – you kidder. Not only facetious, but humorous too ;)

  112. JC

    Just as long as we all agree that Canberra and everyone who resides there are a massive net drain on the country and we’d better off if the whole place was sealed off and nuked.

    Why nuke it. That would make outlying areas unlivable for a while at least. Do what the Romans are said to have done when opponents really pissed them off. Use the current population as slaves to salt the earth after it’s razed.

  113. Infidel Tiger

    Why salt the earth? Good sheep country.

  114. Motelier

    Oi – I always make sense. Your comments have seemed to me to be mostly “tongue-in-cheek”, ergo – facetious. It’s a compliment, not a criticism.

    Grogory M now really offending people on here

    Go You Good Thing.

  115. Peewhit

    Most here seem to be channeling ignorance. No Premier is voluntarily going to take responsibility for taxation while they can blame the commonwealth government. The power of income tax has been offered to them more recently than Fraser’s offer. The reason for NSW residents paying more tax by A$300, is because they are using their domestic services income advantage to demand more for their efforts, to compensate them for the higher costs of living in Sydney. I consider this no more justifiable than my home state of SA getting more in return than we contribute. Charity is charity whether given by the government at the point of a gun or voluntarily.

  116. Infidel Tiger

    Radioactive sheep would grow faster. The. We can export them to the Middle East.

  117. James B

    The whole point about states is competition. If you’re a retard and you take from the successful states and give to the unsuccessful ones, there’s no point in being a smart state, because nothing will ever fucking change!

    You statist fucking dickheads.

  118. JC

    Oh, good thinking. And they would glow in the dark too.

  119. johanna

    Look at the history of the Commonwealth Grants Commission and its predecessors, dickhead. I’m not going to do your homework for you.

    I repeat, the vast majority of Commonwealth revenue is population based, and the redistributive function (without which the smaller States would never have signed up) has meant that NSW and Victoria have subsidised the other States for almost all of our history.

    You lot are as whiny as the Tasmanians, who in a different way think that being part of a Federation consists of eternally ripping off everyone else, while complaining that it’s not enough.

    How much do you think that Defence spends in WA every year? I take it that’s not factored into your shonky accounting.

  120. Motelier

    Grigory M,

    Do you concur?”

    Nice point I do.

  121. sdfc

    How much do you think that Defence spends in WA every year?

    Don’t be ridiculous, WA pays more than its fair share to consolidated income and hence to defence than any other state.

  122. sdfc

    IN your own words, why should WA be propping up the income of other states. And how is that efficient?

  123. Gab

    I’m not going to do your homework for you.

    Well, no. You’re the one making the claim – that WA is really a mendicant state since Federation until recently- so really the onus is on you to back your claim. I would love to see the data on revenue raised by the states since Federation and clearly you have such data otherwise you wouldn’t be making your claims, yeah?

  124. johanna

    You haven’t answered my question. How about if we trash everything paid for by others since 1901, close down the bases, and leave you to it?

  125. sdfc

    Very little of our infrastructure has been paid for by others. You are hysterical.

  126. No state has ever sent so much of its income to Canberra as WA is currently sending. We voted to leave in the 30s but you wouldn’t let us go.

    Hummm, yes …er.. well…. erm.. keep in mind the vote was to restore the prior status quo.

    That is, the vote meant WA was opting to leave the federation & return to being a colony of Britain.

  127. sdfc

    Still waiting for evidence that any other state has contributed anywhere near the proportion of income WA is.

  128. Motelier

    Grigory M…..

    Hello

    Are you still here?

  129. sdfc

    What’s the bet Britain would not suck the amount of income the Commonwealth is currently sucking out of us?

  130. Motelier

    sdfc

    Grigory M is a concern troll.

    Concern trolls run at the first sign of danger.

    Hmmmmmmm

  131. TonyOrlando

    What’s the bet Britain would not suck the amount of income the Commonwealth is currently sucking out of us?

    Better ask the Scots how much of their North Sea oil revenue they saw.

  132. Senex Bibax

    Canada has a similar system of “transfer payments” from the “have” to the ‘have not” provinces. It is a constant bone of contention, and like Australia, the “have nots” outnumber the “haves”. All hell breaks loose when economic fortunes change, and roles reverse but the payments don’t.

  133. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Don’t know how to do links, but, as I posted earlier, Western Australia went into federation on the votes of those who had “followed the gold ” to Kalgoorlie. What the British Foreign and Colonial Office wanted to do was, if West Australians rejected Federation, was split the State in two – the Goldfields would be part of Federation, in a new State called Aurelia – they weren’t letting all that lovely gold out of their grip.

  134. Wozzup

    It is this system that my state – South Australia relies upon to fund its labor government’s inefficient, inappropriate and exorbitant expenditures. In fact the worse this labor government performs – effectively the more it gets from the citizens of other states. Some degree of fiscal equalization (the technical name for this process) is needed to help ensure that all states and territories can provide basic services to its citizens. BUT!……….. By providing a system in which higher performing states are effectively punished to this extent it promotes under performance by states like SA which in principle is identical to Greece, Spain and other EU countries relying upon high performing economies like Germany to fund their socialist expenditure fest. Its a case of all care and no responsibility. Well, no actually its not…… its more like no care and no responsibility – after all, Greece and South Australia are not the ones paying the bills. If I were a German citizen I would be seriously p#ssed off. And if I were a Western Australian or New South Welshman/woman, likewise.

  135. Oh come on

    The simple fact is that, over the period that the Commonwealth govt has occupied the dominant position in the Federation and its economy, WA has been a net contributor.

    When WA was a net taker, Canberra handed out a pittance compared to the largesse it’s dispensed over the past 40 plus years and what it’s going to spend for the foreseeable future.

    The only reason why Canberra can afford to be so generous is down to the treasure it receives from WA. We built and bankrolled the Australian welfare state, and will continue to do so until it collapses under its own weight.

    Anyone who denies these axiomatic facts is a crank. Just be honest and say you don’t want WA to leave the Federation out of your own self interest. Enough of the lie of WA as the mendicant state in times gone by.

    Incidentally, the collective benefits WA receives from being in the Federation could be purchased several times over if we dammed the river of gold that flows to Canberra.

    ‘You can’t eat iron ore’

    What a profoundly stupid thing to say in this day and age.

  136. johanna

    ZKTA, links are easy.

    Get onto the page you want to link. Press F6 to highlight the link. Then either mouse over to “edit – copy” or press Ctrl + C.

    Then back to the Cat, and highlight a word or words in your text. Then go to “link”, above the comments box, hit delete to get rid of the http message, and paste. Bingo, your link is there.

    If you are apprehensive about fiddling around with the link funtion here, just copy and paste the link (F6 and copy) directly into the comments box – it will work just fine.

    HTH

  137. TonyOrlando

    And if I were a Western Australian or New South Welshman/woman, likewise.

    Imagine how p#ssed off you would be if you were a First Nation. If you believe you had sovereignty over the land prior to colonization and this was not transfer from you, then by rights the mining royalties should be being paid for you.

    Terra Nullius is still with us

  138. Gab

    I would agree with you, Tony, except I don’t believe the First Nationers were mining anything. And really, logically, the so called “invaders” were the First Nation, Before them this island continent was inhabited by many tribes none of which were united as one nation and nor did they recognise this country consisting as one nation. That concept was brought to their awareness by the “invaders”.

  139. johanna

    @ OCO

    When WA was a net taker, Canberra handed out a pittance compared to the largesse it’s dispensed over the past 40 plus years and what it’s going to spend for the foreseeable future.

    Whine, whine, whine. Where do you think the money that you received for all those decades came from? Unicorn farts? And the fact that the amounts were smaller just reflects that pool for everyone was smaller – we were all poorer. But NSW and Victoria gave and gave and gave, even though they were not living in the lap of luxury either.

    Broken Hill, the basis of what is now BHP, was a powerhouse of mining which generated millions for decades. Do you think that the people who lived and worked there had state of the art facilities? No, their taxes went to fund even worse situations for people in other States. What about Mt Isa? Ever been there? It’s not exactly Las Vegas.

    This entitlement mentality is precisely why Australia is going down the toilet.

  140. Ripper

    pdf version

    Thanks Gab , an interesting read so far.

  141. Gab

    Where do you think the money that you received for all those decades came from?

    The Commonwealth raised it’s own taxes too separate to the states and the states were most efficient given they raised two and half times that of any Commonwealth income taxes up until the 1942 ACT.

    Still, you seem to know a lot, so I’m willing to give you the benefit and am sure your have the figures to back up your claims.

  142. TonyOrlando

    I would agree with you, Tony, except I don’t believe the First Nationers were mining anything

    I see, so if I see a Mercedes in someone’s garage I am allowed to take it? I mean they aren’t using it, so it must be up for grabs?

  143. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Thanks, johanna – I will confess to being God’s own bore when it comes to history, particularly Australian history, but you are dealing with someone who never learned to use a computer until he was well over thirty years old.

  144. Grigory M

    Anyone who denies these axiomatic facts is a crank.

    A “crank”? What the? A “crank”? What the hell kind of limp-wristed terminology is that? Listen up, you wascally western wabble wousers – (assumes Foghorn Leghorn persona):

    “Ah says this. If’n that’s the way you folks in the wild, wild west really feel – then you all, and Colin Barnett, and that drunken, chair-sniffin’ former Treasrer of your’n, can just secede from the Union. So there. How do you like them apples?”

  145. Gab

    I see, so if I see a Mercedes in someone’s garage I am allowed to take it? I mean they aren’t using it, so it must be up for grabs?

    I see, so you’d be willing to give up your house to a bunch of them First Nation people ’cause by your logic it must be up for grabs?

  146. Tel

    Broken Hill, the basis of what is now BHP, was a powerhouse of mining which generated millions for decades. Do you think that the people who lived and worked there had state of the art facilities? No, their taxes went to fund even worse situations for people in other States. What about Mt Isa? Ever been there? It’s not exactly Las Vegas.

    The city folk took it from them fair and square. If the miners had a real problem with it they would have banded together and started some sort of stockade or something. Oh wait, they did, and lost. Besides, you can dig anything you like out of a hole in the ground but what’s it worth without transport, markets, a system of exchange, manufactured goods, and on and on ? I think you will find quite a lot of Australians pay tax.

  147. Yobbo

    When people say “WA was a mendicant state”, they really just mean Perth. Not a single cent of federal taxpayer dollars was spent on regional WA, where all the economy is actually based.

    Or if it was, there is nothing to show for it.

  148. Grumbles

    Income tax and infrastructure are unrelated. Road tax exceeds road spending, Company tax exceeds service return

  149. Ripper

    Broken Hill, the basis of what is now BHP, was a powerhouse of mining which generated millions for decades. Do you think that the people who lived and worked there had state of the art facilities?

    Most would have been spent in Sydney. Did the royalties decrease NSW federal revenue then?

    Similar story in regional WA. That is how the WANats got so much traction with Royalties for regions , with merely distributed the royalties on a per capita basis and caused great angst in the metropolis.

  150. Ivan Denisovich

    The Greens would hate this idea, recognising the threat it poses to them politically and to green theology. That adds to its appeal.

  151. johanna

    Gab and others, no matter how you keep twisting the history, the fact is that from 1901 onwards, Sydney and Melbourne were by miles the biggest cities and generated the biggest taxes. Prior to WW2, when the States (happily) handed over the odium of income tax to the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth’s tax revenues still mainly relied on things like customs and excise taxes levied through Sydney and Melbourne, plus various taxes on industries concentrated in Vic and NSW. Get over it.

    To the extent that there was anything to redistribute, it has until very recently been from NSW and Vic to everyone else. Arguably, taking income tax into account, that is still the case. The fact that the dollar amounts were smaller is irrelevant – as I pointed out earlier, people in Broken Hill or in hamlets in Victoria went without because their State’s taxes were redistributed.

    Now we seem to have the argument from both sides – that Tasmania and SA should be subsidised because they are poor, and that WA shouldn’t pay because it is currently rich. It just sounds like a stupid family argument, which doesn’t attempt to deal with the issues that we face today.

  152. Ripper

    Here we go: From 1933. It appears we we propping up manufacturing in Victoria even then.

    By the operation of the tariff we are obliged to buy from the eastern States annually about £7,000,000 worth of goods. Most of these goods could, but for the tariff, be bought in other markets for 25 per cent. to 30 per cent. less, and we should get goods of much better quality. Thus directly we pay a grievous toll. In- directly we lose because our local industries are stifled, and we cannot develop trade with our best commercial friends, because the tariff prevents us from reciprocating. If high protection is deemed to be essential to the eastern States, the interests of east and west are incompatible, and the only way to do justice is to allow the West control of its Customs. The Federal Government should take cognisance of the movement. If it is desired to check the drift, let the Prime Minister or Mr. Latham visit Western Australia, and announce either that Parliament will be invited to approve a referendum on the question of control of Customs, or that the Government will reconstitute the interstate commission. Each colony, said Mr. Latham, acted upon the understanding of the faith of each of the other colonies. One understanding set out in section 101 of the Constitution was: — “There shall be an interstate commission.” The act passed in [?] to constitute the commission stated: — “The commission shall be charged with the duty of investigating (among other things) the effect of any tariff.” The continued refusal to carry out section 101 is a failure to keep faith.

  153. johanna

    Everyone else in Australia, including Victorians and people in NSW (between them nearly half of the population) suffered the same imposts. But they kept paying your bills.

    This endless sense of grievance, as though you have been singled out for persecution, is childish and pathetic.

  154. Notafan

    I am not clear what is being argued for here. An arbitrary line is drawn for the location of states and WA is where Australia’s greatest mining resources happen to be?
    There should be some incentives for competition between the states like the US right to work states. Now is the time for a tough LNP state government to create an environment where business are encouraged to operate, assuming the Federals mean what they say they will not hinder or interfere, will anybody actually do it?

  155. Grigory M

    Ripper – isn’t Trove a wonderful resource? Unfortunately, you’ve been somewhat disingenuous by quoting, not the newspaper article, but a letter to the editor from WM Nairn MP for Perth, who seems a little miffed (surprise, surprise) that WA might be subsiding the Eastern States by up to £3.5M per year (30% of £7M) through the operation of tariffs. Nice bit of cherry-picking there, by him and you. Here is the actual newspaper article:

    FINANCIAL POSITION EXAMINED.
    The Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) said yesterday that the Commonwealth Treasury had been asked by the Government to examine the position of Western Australia as it was affected financially by Federation.
    “It has been contended often in Western Australia that that State actually contributes to the Commonwealth Treasury by means of taxation more than has been spent by the Commonwealth in Western Australia,” Mr. Latham said. “The argument appears to be based on the proposition that no State should be expected to remain in the Federation unless it receives more money from Federation than it paid to Federation. It is obvious that such argument is not capable of universal application, because it is plain that all the States could not receive from the Commonwealth more than they paid to the Commonwealth. Revenue obtained by the Commonwealth from Western Australia, according to the most recent figures, was £3,700,000 a year, while Commonwealth expenditure in Western Australia was £4,700,000.
    “It would be unfortunate,” continued Mr. Latham, “if this question of national unity were to be determined merely upon the basis of accountancy. While the financial aspect is important, the people of Western Australia should consider permanent and fundamental interests of all the citizens of the Commonwealth. If Western Australia, because some of its people have grievances, considers that it is entitled to secede from the Commonwealth, then every other State must have precisely the same rights. I am sure that most West Australians will hold before them the vision of a nation which was the inspiration of Federation, and which, in spite of failings which were natural to humanity, had become a reality with very great advantage to all the people of Australia.

    Interesting, that bolded bit. It says WA was receiving more than it contributed.

  156. Oh come on

    This endless sense of grievance, as though you have been singled out for persecution, is childish and pathetic.

    What’s childish and pathetic is your obstinate refusal to concede that WA was very, *very* much a reluctant partner in the Federation project, and its accession took place under circumstances that would be described charitably as controversial.

    You want to have a bob both ways, Johanna. You claim that we benefited from a few pennies thrown at us from Canberra as a result of a deal that probably shouldn’t have been made, then want to treat the current and ongoing mind-bendingly huge transfer payments from West to East as quid pro quo for the meagre benefits received from 1901 under an arrangement that a very large number of the population of the Western Australian colony weren’t satisfied with.

    Face it. WA pays for Australia’s shit, has done so for the last 30 years and will do so for the foreseeable future. That’s why you don’t want to let WA go. Just be honest. Stop whining about how, in 1924, the Commonwealth allocated the Bassendean telegraph station a sixpence to replace their ink pads, and as a consequence WA OWES THE NATION!!1211!!!!!!11!@!

    That debt has been repaid. Over and over and over and over and over and over again. We didn’t sign up to Federation to cash in on the good times – anyone with a vague understanding of the constitution can clearly see the implicit reluctance of the colony to join the Federation. And when you claim we were receiving all this Commonwealth money (although you are extraordinarily vague about this), WA voted to secede from Australia. Doesn’t really fit your narrative of the ‘mendicant state’, does it?

    Cut the crap, Johanna. Stop insulting people’s intelligence. At least be honest as to why you want WA to remain in the Federation. It’s about feathering your own nest, isn’t it?

  157. Oh come on

    Interesting, that bolded bit. It says WA was receiving more than it contributed.

    Who gives a shit? The colony was virtually press-ganged into the Federation. And you’re talking pennies again. These days we talk in trillions.

  158. Grigory M

    Who gives a shit?

    You do – obviously. Anyhoo – millions, billions, trillions – meh – it’s all just numbers – dollars (or pounds)of the day are what has always mattered.

  159. Grigory M

    You a Pom, oco? WA does have more than its fair share of them. Could explain all that eternal whinging. ;)

  160. Oh come on

    I love a good car metaphor.

    WA reluctantly purchased the universally unloved EA Falcon – the one with the 3.4 engine – primarily because the dealer’s son surreptitiously came over to our side to convince us of the car’s dubious merits.

    It served us pretty crappily, so much so that we tried to sell it, but no one wanted to buy.

    Years later, we’re still paying off this lemon, but the Johannas of this world have decided that we actually bought a Rolls Royce Phantom instead of the shitbox Falcon and we owe it to the nation to adjust our repayments accordingly (ie. upwards – massively)

    Bugger off, Johanna. When it comes to the crunch, you’re no better than the cradle to grave scum down at the CES who reckons the rest of the world owes them a living.

  161. Oh come on

    Care to make any sort of counterargument, Grigory, you fatuous turd? Otherwise just fuck off and stop wasting everyone’s time.

  162. Grigory M

    Tisk, tisk – “bugger off”, “fatuous turd” “fuck off”. Your weekend is off to a good start, hey. C’mon oco – fess up – you are a Pom, aren’t you?

  163. Grigory M

    up to £3.5M per year (30% of £7M)

    Woops – correction needed. 30% of £7M is only £2.1M. Chicken feed, oco.

  164. ralph

    Lyonhjelm at least demonstrates that fanciful utopian ideas are not solely the preserve of the left.

  165. duncanm

    The real point here is not about states – that’s just the mechanism we have for redistribution between regions.

    I think David’s point regarding employment, services and development are much more pertinant — why do we let the unemployed stay where there is no work? Why do we provide services exceeding those required by the employed in those regions?

    We should actively encourage movement of labour. If you want the dole, you’ll get 50% of the rate staying in easy-living region X with no jobs, but 100% in a growing region, or that requiring more labour.

  166. Combine_Dave

    What’s the bet Britain would not suck the amount of income the Commonwealth is

    Given the welfare commitments of the British and their widespread entitlement mentality (as evidenced by the excuses given during the London riots ‘it was disadvantage wot dunnit’, ‘the guvment dont do nuffink for the children’), that would be a poor bet to make.

  167. Ripper

    A bit more background on the secession movement

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/4524988?searchTerm=&searchLimits=l-publictag=1933+WA+secession+referendum

    The Constitution provided that the Commonwealth should not tax any property belonging to a State, yet heavy duties were imposed on most of the things which the younger States required for their development. Loans raised in London by Western Australia were brought into the State in goods, and of every £1,000,000 so borrowed £250,000 was taken by the Customs department. This added enormously to the cost of development. Relief from the disabilities of the States could not be expected from any political party. Each party, when it got into power, perpetuated what it had denounced in its predecessor.

    Crikey , the more things change the more they stay the same, We really need to elect senators whose loyalty is to the State rather than the party.

  168. Oh come on

    Tisk, tisk – “bugger off”, “fatuous turd” “fuck off”. Your weekend is off to a good start, hey. C’mon oco – fess up – you are a Pom, aren’t you?

    Not a Pom but I do tend to get terse with serial dissemblers like yourself.

    And yup, your response was exactly the kind of glib sneering of the wilfully ignorant which you deploy in the hope it obscure the fact that you know nothing of what you’re commenting about.

    Grigory, get an act – and quickly – or stop wasting my time.

  169. Grigory M

    ROTFLMAO at that oco. Altogether too precious.

  170. rickw

    “The whole point about states is competition. If you’re a retard and you take from the successful states and give to the unsuccessful ones, there’s no point in being a smart state, because nothing will ever fucking change!”

    Exactly! The point is that Australians should get to vote twice, once at the ballot box and once with their feet.

    If the Federal Government acts to grossly redistribute tax revenue, and acts to align laws and regulations between States, then it is destroying the intended competition between The States.

    This levelling / harmonisation eliminates the ability of the people to vote with their feet. There is no point pulling up stumps and moving from one state to the next because you’re subject to the same crappy governance and same crappy laws.

    Probably the most significant example of forced alignment between The States was John Howards Gun Laws, I, and I suspect many others would have happily moved to any State which retained the status quo, that however wasn’t an option.

  171. Demosthenes

    Besides, you can dig anything you like out of a hole in the ground but what’s it worth without transport, markets, a system of exchange, manufactured goods, and on and on ?

    I never expected the social democratic argument here!

  172. Demosthenes

    We really need to elect senators whose loyalty is to the State rather than the party.

    You’d have to ban political party members from the Senate to achieve that.

  173. johanna

    @ oco:

    What’s childish and pathetic is your obstinate refusal to concede that WA was very, *very* much a reluctant partner in the Federation project, and its accession took place under circumstances that would be described charitably as controversial.

    You want to have a bob both ways, Johanna. You claim that we benefited from a few pennies thrown at us from Canberra as a result of a deal that probably shouldn’t have been made, then want to treat the current and ongoing mind-bendingly huge transfer payments from West to East as quid pro quo for the meagre benefits received from 1901 under an arrangement that a very large number of the population of the Western Australian colony weren’t satisfied with.

    Please do not put words into my mouth. I have not engaged at all in the arcane and complex debates about why WA joined the Federation, or about events in the 1930s.

  174. Oh come on

    I have not engaged at all in the arcane and complex debates about why WA joined the Federation, or about events in the 1930s.

    Perhaps if you had you wouldn’t sound so defiantly ignorant when opining on the matter.

    You’ve made it sound as though we cashed in on the good years and now it’s only fair we’re paying our dues. You don’t think that, from the very start, WA wasn’t all that keen to get in on the Federation rort is relevant? Nor the benefits WA received from Canberra were an absolute pittance compared to what we’ve sent back their way, a burden we’re expected to carry indefinitely.

    And the hilariously myopic accusation that WE are an entitlement mentality, while it’s you happily mooching off our superior ability to generate wealth. Go get a job, welfarist socialist swine, and leave us to enjoy the fruits of our labours and the bounty of our land.

    You poor benighted soul – you’re oblivious to the fact that WA bankrolls the rest of the country’s collective entitlement mentality, and you also have the chutzpah to bite the hand that feeds you so generously. Your perspective is arse over tit wrong, and despite the fact it’s been thoroughly debunked, you still continue to cling to those same phoney claims which have been thoroughly exposed as being so. That makes you a crank, in my book.

    Grigory is a particularly pathetic troll with nothing to add to the discussion. Thus his hollow carping will be ignored. He is a brainless anti-social bore.

  175. old bloke

    WA was a mendicant State supported by NSW and Victoria

    I have often heard this statement made, but I seriously doubt that there is any truth in it. To the best of my knowledge, the only money diverted from NSW & Victoria to WA was to build the trans-Australia railway line. The only people who have derived benefit from this are the manufacturers in NSW and Victoria who then had cheap access to the WA market (well, cheaper than shipping).

    WA has always been an exporting state and this has been the case from the very beginning. Long before iron ore, WA was exporting hardwood timber all around the world, from paving the streets of London to building the Indian railways. WA has always been a major exporter of wheat, wool and other farm produce, in addition to gold, gemstones, sandalwood, etc. etc.

    WA has always been a net contibutor to the common-wealth, it has never been a medicant state. In fact, WA would do quite nicely thank you if they decided to cede from the Commonwealth.

    It’s bad enough carrying other states without being subjected to slurs of being (at some time) a medicant state. That’s just adding insult to injury.

  176. Grigory M

    Grigory is a particularly pathetic troll with nothing to add to the discussion. Thus his hollow carping will be ignored. He is a brainless anti-social bore.

    Au contraire, fuckwit. Grigory Potemkin is far from being a troll, and at times he adds much to discussion on the Cat. He can be somewhat fixated on a particular topic, but he can hardly be accused of carping, unlike your good self. And he is most certainly not brainless, nor anti-social, nor a bore – again unlike yourself. So, dipshit – if you can do it without whining to all and sundry like a £10 Pom from WA – go fuck youself.

  177. Oh come on

    Oooh, touched a nerve, did I?

    I’m a bit confused as to why you thought I was referring to Grigory Potemkin – who made no appearance on this thread – and not yourself when I, quite correctly and especially in light of your latest comment, called you a pathetic, brainless troll who adds nothing to the conversation.

    Grigory Potempkin is possibly the most unfunny English language cartoonist on the planet. He’s not a troll. You are, however. And a particularly low-rent one, at that. Now, like I said before, bugger off and stop wasting my time, you silly little man.

  178. Grigory M

    Well, there’s a revelation. You have even less of a sense of humour than me. “Bugger off”? Just too precious. You sure you’re not a Pom? Maybe second generation? Want your £10 back?

  179. Oh come on

    Thing is, I wasn’t trying to be funny. Whereas pretending I was referring to Grigory Potemkin and not you seems to have been your little joke? Good lord. And you’ve got the cheek to say I lack a sense of humour! Then you’re so mentally inept that all you can manage is to regurgitate the humourless, harmless slurs that failed to hit their mark so abysmally previously? Thankyou for so neatly confirming everything I previously said about you.

  180. Gab

    Don’t worry, OCO, Johanna is the world expert on everything, and has a story or anecdote to match each example. Just a pity she has no data to back her claims.

  181. Combine_Dave

    So rather than preaching sectionalism and state based tribalism (with more than a little bit of British style whinging thrown in for good measure), surely a better way forward would be to end the welfare entitlement mentality both for individuals and corporations at state and national level?

  182. .

    Bugger off, Johanna. When it comes to the crunch, you’re no better than the cradle to grave scum down at the CES who reckons the rest of the world owes them a living.

    Jesus! Ouch.

    We had an EA when I was a pup, from brand new. We looked after it so it wasn’t a shitbox (near immaculate for a long ownership period), just gutless on the hills of the Hume highway in southern NSW.

    At any rate, the Commonwealth ought to rely on the States. Building Canberra as a capital was also a mistake. There is no reason why the different departments could not be centred in different strategic areas (defence, darwin, commerce (at federation), melbourne, AG, Sydney, trade, Perth, External affairs, Syndey) etc and rotate where parliament sits and have it alternate with the states MPs. Give the GG and PM an allowance to live wherever they please. The only good thing about the capital is that it can be personified to hate it.

  183. Combine Dave

    I used to have an EF falcon.

    Great car. Dependable and surprisingly much better handling and comfort than many newer Japanese and Korea vehicles that have replaced it on the roads.

    Of course once I sold it off it fell to pieces (reportedly the central locking failed, then the radiator, the exhaust system, the door handles, even the roof lining fell off). I guess you can’t really compare Australian made quality with Asia :D

    As for our states, why shouldn’t needed infrastructure in one be subsidies by another state? Or indeed defense equipment training and personnel? We are all one country and should help each other.

    As for money being transferred from one state to pay for forests to be locked up, and professional dole bludgers and activits to receive their payments, then no. But the solution to that is not to abolish the federation, but to remove the entitlements for those that do not deserve them.

  184. .

    I’d say infrastructure should be privatised. Or main roads etc should have their own trusts formed, which then receive public funding from their owner/beneficiaries.

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