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Omar al Hashim View Drop Down
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    Posted: 21 Apr 2010 at 16:52
While wiki crusing I found the following sentence:
 
In April 1934, a referendum in Western Australia produced a 68% yes vote to leave the Commonwealth of Australia with the aim of returning to the British Empire as an autonomous territory. No action was taken in the British Parliament because no request was received from the Australian Government in line with the Statute of Westminster.
 
WA voted to leave Australia and return to Britain, but couldn't because Australia didn't ask Britain to enact the vote. But, in some way I don't understand, the Statute of Westminster didn't apply in Australian states. So a law that didn't apply to Australian states was used prevent an Australian state from leaving the commonwealth because it did apply to the commonwealth.
 
PS.
If federation is to Australia like the war of independence is to America, then this vote could be to Australia like the civil war was to America.
WA: "We want to succeed! Lets have a vote"
WA: "Ok, done. Now we know we want to succeed. The people we're succeeding from just ned to put in the request"
Commonwealth: "Meh, requires effort."
WA: "Oh. Ok, fair enough. I suppose we'll stay put then"


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 21 Apr 2010 at 16:58
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gcle2003 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2010 at 21:08
Nice story. I'm still trying to work out the ramifications.
 
Did this have anything to do with bodyline? Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 13:21
After doing some research this document outlines the reasoning and motivation behind both the decision and the referendum: link
The short of it is that the Australian constitution did not have any provision for seceding. Nor did the Australian governments (state or federal) have the power to amend the constitution. They had to request the Imperial Parliament to Amend it for them.
 
The Imperial Parliment had agreed to enact any laws that the dominions asked for, and also not to enact any law that a dominion didn't ask for. Western Australia considered that the only route to secession was to ask the Imperial Parliment to amend the constitution and remove them from the Commonwealth. After much legal debate which is described in the article above, a commitee of the Imperial Parliment decided that while WA had the right to ask the Imperial Parliment to enact laws that only affected WA, it did not have the right to ask for laws that affected the whole of the Commonwealth. They also considered that secession of a state affect the whole of the Commonwealth, and therefore only the commonwealth government could request the amendments to allow WA to secede.
 
The Commonwealth Government was never going to do such a thing so the Imperial government did nothing. The secessionist movement in WA tried to get the Imperial Parliment to ignore the decision and interfere anyway (as this was strictly within their power) but with no success.
After this the people of WA basically just gave up. No one had any interest in trying to force the issue. The commonwealth started to address the economic concerns in WA as well - which was disadvantaged at the time.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 23 Apr 2010 at 10:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 21:43
Thanks Omar
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2010 at 22:34
Omar, do you mean succeeding or seceding? I keep thinking you mean 'seceding' but then sometimes 'succeeding' fits the context.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2010 at 10:36
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Omar, do you mean succeeding or seceding? I keep thinking you mean 'seceding' but then sometimes 'succeeding' fits the context.
Oops. That's a bad mistake. Most of the time I meant secede, but I did use succeed as well. I've fixed up the post with (what should be) correct spelling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2010 at 23:37
Thank you for raising the ever recurring delusions of the sandgropers! Of course, any idea of secession would result in the creation of the largest "city-state" in modern history...Evil Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2010 at 05:41
The important thing overlooked here is whether Western Australia would have qualified for Test status. Back then it would still have been up to the MCC, no?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2010 at 12:16
I think maybe we should give the West Australians more credit than is being given. They may very well have realised that doing what they did would result in precisely the outcome detailed above. And having pulled their stunt, the Commonwealth found it necessary to placate them by investing in their development.

So the secession attempt was either a silly public tantrum by the WA people due to a flawed sense of self identity, or a rather clever attempt at being given a bigger piece of the Commonwealth pie. We may draw our own conclusions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Leonidas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2010 at 03:27
very interesting Omar.

western Australians still see things as east vs west while the rest of us don't care. They are isolated from the rest of the country in terms of distance
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2010 at 10:40

Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

I think maybe we should give the West Australians more credit than is being given. They may very well have realised that doing what they did would result in precisely the outcome detailed above. And having pulled their stunt, the Commonwealth found it necessary to placate them by investing in their development.

While that's logical to assume for a small set of people, I find it hard to imagine that the whole state realised that. Even in government, the Labor party was opposed to secession, the country party in favour, and the nationalist had no position. The nationalist party were in power when the referendum was called, but lost the election in the same vote as referendum to the Labor party.
So the Labor party that was opposed to secession now had to present the case to the Imperial Parliament.

The vote in WA is more of an after effect of federation than a carefully orchastrated stunt. In 1890, WA would never have joined the commonwealth, but in 1900 the gold rush in Kalgoorlie had increased the population from 47,000 to 120,000. With the extra people predominantly coming from the eastern states. Those people wanted to federate, and if WA did not join, there was popular support for the Goldfields seceeding from WA. When the Colonial Secretary said to the WA government that if WA didn't join they'd have to hear the secession case WA called the referendum and voted to join the commonwealth. An extra 50,000 votes were added to the electoral role due to the new migrants in the Goldfields. If those votes were excluded, the vote passed by only 571 votes. In short, WA only became part of Australia in the first place because the eastern states branch stacked the goldfields.

Shortly after joining WA was subjected to tariffs that were designed to protect Victoria and NSW economies but caused huge difficulties in the west. This economic disadvantage eventually led to the vote in the 30s. Only after the attempt to seceed did the commonwealth begin to pay attention to WAs economic woes. That assistance and WA rises to wealth in the 60s and 70s reduced the sypport of secession movements but it is important to note that they still exist. Now, for the complete opposite reason - that WA produces more wealth than the other states and doesn't receive its "fair share". Google 'WA secession' with pages from Australia clicked. 5 from 10 hits are recent discussion, the other 5 are the 1930s attempt.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2010 at 15:56
Wait, there is a Western Australia?
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2010 at 19:06
And a South Australia, and a Northern Territory.

We aren't particularly fussed about thinking up original sounding names for places.

And how New South Wales bore enough of a resemblance to old South Wales to make our colonial forebears name it such, I still do not know.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2010 at 21:42
My point being that usually people don't think of a Western Australia, just simply the Western part of Australia where Perth is.
 
On the issue of NSW I dunno, maybe there was some very good shipboard moonshine on the namers ship?


Edited by Sparten - 27 Apr 2010 at 21:45
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Birddog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2010 at 10:09
James Cook liked to suck up to the lordships back home. The whole east coast of Australia is litted with his flattery of the higher ups. Calling the East Coast of Australia New South Wales might have been a good way to suck up to the Prince of Wales. I have read one Australian racist write that it was named New South Wales because the people were black and couldn't speak English, thefore Cook assumed they must be Welsh. And what where they going to call Western Australia if not Western Australia? New Holland? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2010 at 10:12

Originally posted by gcle gcle wrote:

The important thing overlooked here is whether Western Australia would have qualified for Test status. Back then it would still have been up to the MCC, no?

That is a good point! Certainly they would have had the talent to play.
On the other hand I just looked up the 1934 Cricket team. Not a single Western Australian. They were all NSW, or Victorians, except for 1 Queenslander, 1 South Australian, and 1 Kiwi.

Maybe this is the real motivation for secession? No representation in the Cricket team.

Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

My point being that usually people don't think of a Western Australia, just simply the Western part of Australia where Perth is.

That's pretty much Western Australia. Perth, the farmland around Perth, and 2,000,000 square kilometers of desert and wilderness.
Originally posted by CXI CXI wrote:

And how New South Wales bore enough of a resemblance to old South Wales to make our colonial forebears name it such, I still do not know.

There's a really great comedy sketch about this but for the life of me I can't find it.

The other interesting thing is that this is the same time as the Great Emu War. If I were a conspiracy theorist...

Originally posted by Birddog Birddog wrote:

what where they going to call Western Australia if not Western Australia? New Holland? 
If they'd named it in 1820 they'd have called it Lachlanland, or Macquaria


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 28 Apr 2010 at 10:15
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2010 at 11:19
Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

If they'd named it in 1820 they'd have called it Lachlanland, or Macquaria


No colonists arrived until 1826.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

That's pretty much Western Australia. Perth, the farmland around Perth, and 2,000,000 square kilometers of desert and wilderness.


That is certainly where the action is mostly. But large profitable outlying towns like Kalgoorlie and Broome are still important and should not be overlooked.

Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

There's a really great comedy sketch about this but for the life of me I can't find it.


Here it is, I thought I would include the full clip inclusive of all the other colonial misnomers as they are all a good laugh Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df-uemc-e3w
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