Ben O'Shea: What Premier Mark McGowan has in common with Coalition MP Christian Porter

Ben O’Shea: What Premier Mark McGowan has in common with Coalition MP Christian Porter

What does Premier Mark McGowan have in common with embattled Coalition MP Christian Porter?

Not much, you might be thinking, given the former is one of the most beloved elected officials on the planet and the latter is currently so radioactive he could power every nuclear sub in the AUKUS fleet.

But, as it happens, both politicians have trust issues.

In the case of Mr Porter, it’s the blind trust used to pay for his lawsuit against the ABC, into which a small fortune was paid by mysterious donors.

We can all agree it’s patently problematic for a Federal pollie to accept money and not declare where it came from, regardless of what the funds are used for.

So it was no huge surprise to see the Member for Pearce fall on his sword on Sunday, resigning from Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Cabinet and banishing himself to the backbench.

It’s even less of a surprise he took this option instead of outing the identities of his donors, given the optics of bankrolling Mr Porter’s ABC stoush are roughly on par with crowdfunding a baby seal-clubbing expedition.

Mr McGowan’s trust issue, on the other hand, refers to his reliance on one commodity to cash the cheques his mouth has been writing.

Just two weeks ago, WA and its Premier were flying high as the State Daddy proudly affixed the Treasurer’s heavy hat upon his bonce to announce a whopping Budget surplus of $5.6 billion for the past financial year.

Despite it being his first crack at balancing the books, the WA Leader was so enamoured of his economic management he used his Budget speech to call out his East Coast counterparts for what he perceived was their “lack of financial discipline”.

It was of course nothing more than a pre-emptive strike in the battle to maintain WA’s current share of the GST, which our Premier rightly fears might heat up in the run to a Federal election.

Regardless, the Premier’s economic pride has cometh before the fall (of iron ore prices).

Iron ore sank below $US100 US dollars a tonne for the first time in 14 months late on Friday, a sharp decline from the commodity’s peak of more than $US233 in May.

A sluggish property market in China and Beijing’s efforts to clean up its heavy-polluting industrial sector has at least one analyst predicting the price will stay below $US90 next year.

The WA Treasury has based its books for the coming financial year on $US121 dollars a tonne – a figure that looked appropriately conservative in May but now seems optimistic.

Unlike Mr Porter, our Premier has no issue admitting where his money comes from and he knows an over-reliance on one commodity leaves WA at the mercy of market volatility.

Blind trust this ain’t, but a solution that involves more than GST posturing must come into focus.

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