Echoes of secession
The failure of the secession movement in the 1930s did not destroy secessionist sentiments in the west. During the 1970s a Westralian Secession Movement was formed with the financial backing of mining magnate Lang Hancock. Fielding Don Thomas as an unsuccessful candidate in the 1974 Senate election campaign, the movement represented a conservative reaction to the centralist policies of the Whitlam Labor Government. It was fuelled by resentment that in spite of Western Australia's newly developed mineral wealth it had remained a 'Cinderella State', contributing more to the Commonwealth than it received .
Western Australian grievances about the distribution of the State's resource wealth were added to long-standing concerns about the increased power of the federal government. Clearly, secessionist feeling still percolates through some sections of Western Australian society and is a part of Western Australian identity. With every major conflict between the State and the Commonwealth the letters section of the West Australian receives letters from citizens calling for Western Australia to go its own way.
During the 1999 Federal referendum campaign Western Australian secessionists, under the banner of 'Our State, Our People, Our Flag' urged electors to 'Be Western Australian and Think Western Australian' and vote 'no' to a new federation. Their campaign literature even drew from the 1934 Secession Act.
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