• Hannah Phillips

Malcolm Turnbull is in Election Mode


The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, visited Perth last week to address the Western Australian branch of the Liberal Party.

The main theme for his visit to the West was his revamped GST scheme.

Last month, federal Treasurer Scott Morrison finally revealed the government’s proposal to fix the GST.


Once fully implemented there would be a 75 cent floor for every state and territory, with an extra $4.7 billion flowing into WA coffers over eight years.

The announcement was warmly welcomed, not only by federal Liberal MPs but also the McGowan Labor government, with WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt describing it as “a solution and a genuine GST reform” that could be achieved.

The government’s preference is for the states to sign off on the GST before the end of the year but there’s a chance they will hold out until after the federal election next year so that Mr Turnbull can’t claim it as a policy triumph.

But Scott Morrison has said the fix can be implemented regardless of whether an agreement is reached with all states.

The Prime Minister says West Australians know they can trust him to deliver a fairer deal for WA on the GST, but it’s more likely they will not be completely at ease until the money starts flowing into the state’s coffers.

During his visit to Perth the Prime Minister was targeting the marginal seats of Swan and Pearce.

While in Swan with MP Steve Irons on Thursday, Mr Turnbull insisted voters could trust his government to “deliver a fair deal on the GST.”

On Friday he was in Pearce with Attorney-General Christian Porter, but denied he was devoting time to both seats because he was nervous about losing them at the next election.

“Australia is a big country and Western Australia is the biggest single part of it, so I get around the nation,” he told reporters.

“It is great to be here after we’ve been able to sort out this GST issue, which I know has been a problem for a long time and I have never run away from that.”

Mr Porter also insisted the GST issue had been fixed so no other state was worse off and “people love it”.

He said “of course” it meant he was more confident about the next election.

“I said I would leave state politics to be part of a team that would fix the GST, and it took a little while but it is the hardest problem we’ve ever faced and we got there.”

Political analyst Harry Phillips told AAP the GST solution would take the edge off the election for the Liberals but stressed it was not a true fix.

“It’s a solution without managing or doing anything with the formula.”

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