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A state apart: Mark McGowan’s pandemic performance taps into WA’s separatist past | Western Australia election 2021

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Western Australia is on a high. In the past 12 months it has closed its borders to the eastern states, creating a Covid-free bubble and thumbing its nose at Canberra in one fell swoop. It is also on track to record a $3.1bn budget surplus, thanks to high iron ore prices, at a time when the pandemic has cleaned out government coffers worldwide.

It is proof for a view long-held by many West Australians: the state does not need the commonwealth nearly as much as the commonwealth needs the state, and WA voters will richly reward a leader seen to be standing firm on states’ rights.

Premier Mark McGowan is on track to sweep the state election next month on a wave of state pride, a current so strong that the opposition leader, Zak Kirkup, has…



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