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Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Page: 4553

Mr IRONS (Swan) (13:55): I rise to congratulate WA Premier, Colin Barnett, on his defence of the WA government's sovereign right to scrap royalty rate exemptions.

Mr Danby: And rip off the rest of Australia.

Mr IRONS: Where was the government when they scrapped the condensate exemptions? In my discussions with Colin he has talked about the Grants Commission and said that the Western Australian contribution to the economy through the GST is not returned as we are only getting 68c in the dollar, propping up states like Tasmania. The Treasurer has said recently that states should not be punished in this funding area for their successes. The Treasurer has made a complete mess of the budget, and in the process has declared war on WA. He now has retracted his earlier statements. Anthony Coralluzzo from Liberty Australia—

Government members interjecting—

Mr IRONS: I hear the members on the opposite side interjecting; they can go for it if they like. The bottom line is that the new resource rent tax is unconstitutional. When Australia federated in 1901, specific and limited powers were delegated to the federal government from the states. Ownership of this mining land was not one of those powers. The land is thus legally owned by the sovereign state in which it is located.

Mr Melham: You should have seceded.

Mr IRONS: We might yet do that. You cannot rent out something you do not own and section 114 of the Australian Constitution forbids the federal government from taxing state government property.