Western Australia July to December 2017
Australian Journal of Politics and History
Blackwell Publishing Ltd
School of Business and Law
So profound was the electoral victory in the Legislative Assembly at the 11 March 2017 election that it was speculated that too many voices “can have major pitfalls”. However, as Parliament began its deliberations the Labor government, led by Premier Mark McGowan, soon faced the reality that the government did not have a majority in the Legislative Council. The Liberal Party, the National Party, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and the Liberal Democratic MLCs, joined forces to block both the mining tax and gold tax budget repair proposals. A solution to the state’s strong objection to its share of the GST funds showed little sign of being realised, at least until the on-going Productivity Commission Review was to be published in the first half of 2018. Industrial troubles loomed in education, not only with salary negotiations but also with the proposed closure of Perth Modern School, which, when the government backed away on that matter, was accompanied by a range of other education cuts. Sweeping reforms to the public service loomed large, with parliamentarians, judges and leading public servants having their salaries and allowances frozen for four years. It was embarrassingly necessary to remove a legislative loop-hole in its four-year pay freeze plan, costing approximately $16 million, before the bill completed its passage (West Australian, 13 October 2017).