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Colin Barnett Must Apologise To All Victorians

16 April 2015

Today, Western Australia’s Liberal Premier, Colin Barnett, tried to argue why his state deserves a bigger slice of the nation’s GST revenue at Victoria’s expense. This is what he said:

"When Victoria had those tragic fires a few years back, Western Australia was the first state…to provide financial assistance, so perhaps the new Treasurer has got a short memory...”

How Colin Barnett could use the aftermath of our most tragic natural disaster as a bargaining chip in a political debate is beyond comprehension.

173 people lost their lives in these fires. I can assure Colin Barnett that not a single Victorian has a “short memory” of Black Saturday. The loss will stay with us forever.

Victorians are thankful for the generosity of Australia’s state governments in the days and weeks following the fires. Their contribution was meant to save lives and communities, not invite IOUs and favours.

Colin Barnett needs to apologise – not to me, not to my Government, but to all Victorians. His comments invoke the very worst of our politics and they stand rightly condemned.

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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