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I recently entered into a lively Internet debate with a WA candidate over their proposed changes to the GST. It quickly spiralled out of control.
I never understood how anyone could be sucked in by cults until I decided to engage Julie Matheson and a couple of her candidates in debate.
The State election in Western Australia has seen the emergence of the Julie Matheson for WA Party. Matheson is a financial planner and councillor for the City of Subiaco in suburban Perth.
Julie Matheson for WA Party (aka: JM4WA) has some noble ideas. However, my problem stems from its failure to understand state and commonwealth law and complete refusal to acknowledge issues when highlighted.
It all began innocuously after I posted a comment on the Facebook page of JM4WA candidate, Carl Maddox, when he had claimed:
Our Party will make laws to keep the GST in WA. It’s our State Tax, not Canberra’s. Our GST has become GST welfare for the other States. WA is expected to dig up every mineral, farm every inch of arable land while the rest of the states live on welfare from our GST. It’s time to put WA first and protect our State.
Western Australia’s pitiful share of GST revenue, currently 37.6 cents, is a festering sore in the west.
I replied, and, being a nice guy, offered Mr Maddox an idea:
Section 109 of the Australian Constitution: GST is a federal law. You cannot make, or sustain, laws with respect to it at state level. If you want to mount a constructive and viable argument, suggest changing assessment criteria. Whilst I acknowledge and agree in principle with the sentiment, may I draw attention to a slight obstacle to your intention? When a law of a State is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth, the latter shall prevail, and the former shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be invalid. Pokies revenue is not considered income for GST purposes whilst mining royalties are. Mounting a sound case for change on that basis alone shouldn’t be too hard.
Seemingly out of his depth, Maddox passed my question to party leader Julie Matheson for comment. Ms Matheson insisted the GST was a state tax and WA could legislate to ensure fair (from a WA perspective) distribution of GST revenue.
Regardless of contrary evidence, Ms Matheson and company refused to accept they had no chance of successfully legislating the GST. Julie Matheson is a financial planner by profession. The fact she refused to acknowledge, or could not understand, clearly defined information beggars belief; her pontifical insistence the GST is a state tax in the face of contrary evidence defies logic.
Following a visit to the JM4WA website, I discovered a plethora of commonwealth laws the party planned to change.
Family Law was touted for attention by Aaron Malloy, candidate for the northern suburban seat of Joondalup, who, regardless of any noble intentions, approaches the issue without objectivity.
In a video filmed at the front of the Family Court of WA building, Malloy claimed a judge’s gag order placed upon him was invalid because he had parliamentary privilege.
When I suggested parliamentary privilege applied to sitting members under specified conditions, Malloy reacted negatively. He was equally enraged at my insistence WA could not legislate Family Law because, alas, it too is commonwealth law.
Western Australia runs its own Family Court, unlike other states; however, it still administers, for the most part, the Family Law Act. In other words: you can’t change Family Law in WA.
Another law the party planned to pass was legislation banning gambling advertising on WA television. Inconveniently, the commonwealth government’s Broadcasting Act of 1992 obstructs that policy.
Julie Matheson for WA Party has some noble ideas. The problem stems from its failure to understand state and commonwealth law and complete refusal to acknowledge issues when highlighted.
My problem is not the policies per se. Most seem noble enough and would no doubt garner support in some quarters of Western Australia if candidates stood in a Federal election.
JM4WA arrogantly refuse to believe state legislation of commonwealth laws violates Section 109 of the Australian Constitution.
Ideology dominates its thinking and nothing, not even solid proof to the contrary, will shift the lines spewed forth by indoctrinated disciples in pursuit of votes.
Ironically, a JM4WA stated policy is “ensure all political promises are kept”.
Another policy bites the dust. Political parties often fail to adhere to promises they could potentially keep. Julie Matheson for WA Party makes promises it can never uphold.
The Julie Matheson for WA Party became so enraged with my crusade, brought about by its stubborn refusal to believe facts as presented, it created a dedicated section on its website under, “6PR’s Minister for Can’t”.
Unsurprisingly, pertinent points were removed and posts heavily edited. Mr Malloy informed me he wanted to come on 6PR’s Perth Tonight live and unedited.
Don’t call me; I’ll (never) call you.