The Prime Minister has issued a rallying call to the WA Liberal Party faithful ahead of the next federal election, saying his Government can take its record of delivering for the state to voters in 2019.
In a speech to the WA Liberal state conference that wrapped up a three-day Perth visit, Malcolm Turnbull trumpeted his Government’s planned overhaul of the GST carve-up by saying he had permanently fixed a long-running “injustice” to the state.
That GST plan, announced last month, would use additional Commonwealth money to boost the funding pool and therefore increase each state’s share.
It was designed in part to ease anger in WA over the state’s historically low share of revenue from the tax, which dropped as low as 30 cents in the dollar in recent years.
“We have delivered a fair deal for Western Australia on the GST as we said we would,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Western Australians can be assured they have a government in Canberra that backs them.”
Mr Turnbull used his speech to again attempt to increase pressure over the GST plan on Federal Labor, which previously committed to boost WA’s share through additional Commonwealth funds, but is yet to say if it supports the Government’s plan.
“The greatest threat to that fair deal would be a Labor Government,” Mr Turnbull said.
“I am the leader of the only party that has a plan for this state, a plan for a stronger economy and a plan for the GST.”
Mr Turnbull’s speech to the conference will be his last remarks to WA party faithful in that setting until the federal election campaign kicks off, with voters set to go to the polls in the first half of next year.
Malcolm Turnbull has been in campaigning mode during his three day visit to Perth. (ABC News: Hugh Sando)
Liberal Party finances ‘precarious’
The Prime Minister’s remarks were preceded by serious warnings from senior WA Liberal officeholders about the state of the party’s finances ahead of the next federal poll.
“The party’s finances are very precarious,” outgoing WA Liberal president Norman Moore said.
“We need to broaden the donor base to fund the party’s administration.”
The two-day conference will consider a series of potentially contentious policy motions, including one for Liberal MPs to face periodic performance reviews conducted by the party itself.
Other, non-binding, motions to be considered by the conference include calls to reduce immigration and foreign aid, and a proposal for Australia to follow the United States’ lead and relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.