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“WEST AUSTRALIA SECESSION: THREAT OF FORCE — ‘Only Means Left To Us’ Says Delegate,” Daily Herald (London), May 27, 1935, pp. 1-2.

A very grave situation has arisen over the demand of Western Australia to secede from the Australian Commonwealth.

A threat that “the argument of force will be the only means left” to the people of Western Australia “in their determined desire for secession” was made last night in a statement issued by Mr. H. K. Watson, chairman of the Dominion League of Western Australia.

Mr. Watson is a member of the Secession Delegation, from whose London headquarters the statement was sent out.

This delegation has been in England since October with a petition to Parliament asking for a Bill to enable Western Australia to secede from the Commonwealth.

On Saturday it was announced that a joint committee of the Commons and Lords had rejected the petition, which it had been appointed to hear. The committee held that it would be unconstitutional for the Parliament of the United Kingdom to take legislative action.

Mr. Watson’s sensational statement is a reply to the approval expressed by Mr. Lyons, Commonwealth Prime Minister, of the joint committee’s decision.

“It is utter humbug,” states Mr. Watson, “for Mr. Lyons to talk of discussing the matter in the Federal Parliament. It has been discussed ad nauseam.”

“The people of Western Australia do not desire any more discussion in the Federal Parliament.”

“In clear and unmistakable language, the case for secession declares that they cannot any longer be put off by these expedients. What they want is action.”

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“Let it be clearly understood that, if the Imperial Parliament adopts the committee’s report, it will mean that, in their determined desire for secession, the people of Western Australia will be denied any further recourse to argument.”

“The argument of force will be the only means left to them. I shall not hesitate so to inform my fellow citizens in Western Australia and to play my full part in whatever course may be decided on, no matter how ‘unorthodox’ that course may be.”

Mr. Watson’s sensational threat follows hints made for some time by the leaders of the Western Australia secession movement that, unless their grievances were redressed in a constitutional manner, they might have recourse to direct action.

Among the steps proposed have been withdrawal from the Federal Parliaments; refusal to pay any moneys due to the Federal Government; or to recognise the authority of the Commonwealth officials.

But the step that, perhaps, finds greatest support is that of refusing to pay any attention to the Commonwealth tariff. The high tariff on manufactured goods from Britain or abroad is one of the chief Western Australian grievances.

One of the plans suggested is that cargoes coming into Perth or Fremantle shall be landed under the protection of some kind of Western Australian volunteer force and that the Customs officials — who are Commonwealth officials — shall be prevented, if necessary by force, from interfering or from levying any duty.

If such a thing were done a situation of the gravest character would obviously arise. The authority of the Commonwealth would be openly flouted.

But the Commonwealth authority has no right to send any armed force into the territory of any State or to take any kind of armed action in that State without the consent of the State Government.

When Mr. Watson’s statement was brought to the notice of Mr. Lyons, the Commonwealth Premier, he declined to make any comment. He indicated before he would wait for its publication before deciding whether it was necessary to make a considered reply.

One who is in close touch with Mr Lyons said there had always been a lot of “wild talk” on the subject but he regarded Mr. Watson’s latest announcements as “a bit hot.”

Sir Hal Colebatch, Agent-General in London for Western Australia, made the following statement to the Daily Herald last night.

“No member of the delegation has authority to make any statement and I cannot associate myself with the sentiments expressed by Mr. Watson.”