Introduction1901/2001End of Isolation?IdentityRaceEchoes of secession
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Echoes of secession

"The present day Secessionists, just as their honoured predecessors of the 1930s, desire nothing but an honourable withdrawal from Federation. They earnestly desire that Secession be accomplished in the most friendly spirit, with the utmost goodwill and without leaving any trace of bitterness behind it. The withdrawal of WA does not involve the severence of a race. The people of WA were good Australians before Federation, they have been good Australians in Federation, and they will be good Australians having withdrawn from Federation. The people of WA will still be loyal subjects of the Queen, living in Amity with their neighbours, and vying with them in their loyalty to the Crown and their attachment to the Commonwealth.

"Let it be emphasised that we are not seeking secession from our Eastern neighbours, but secession from the power grasping tentacles of central government."

Lang Hancock, "A Condensed Case for Secession", August 1974. [PR8823/3]

Stop the Canberra GrabThe 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 .

Anti-republican pamphlet, 1999Western 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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