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Panellists: WA Premier Colin Barnett; Defence Minister Stephen Smith; mining magnate Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest; Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop; Greens Senator Rachel Siewert; and Indigenous business representative Tony Wiltshire from the Pilbara Aboriginal Contractors' Association.
For the first time since the show started, Q&A was able to travel to Perth and present the program in the ABC East Perth studios before an enthusiastic local audience. With WA enjoying a massive mining boom and growing tensions appearing between the Barnett Liberal government and the Gillard government in Canberra, Nicole Naeser chose to raise the secession issue and Anthony Spagnolo said it was time to stop treating WA as a cash cow for the Eastern States. None of the panellists supported secession but there was a strong feeling in the room about the treatment of WA under current tax arrangements, and Twiggy Forrest suggested the State was an easy target which was about to 'cop the raw end of the deal.' Twiggy and Tony Wiltshire were asked to address Indigenous employment issues in detail with questions from Sunili Govinnage and Georgina Fraser before a double-header video question from Broome residents Jan Lewis and Fiona Bishop on the compulsory acquisition of land at James Price Point near Broome for a gas processing plant.
Colin Barnett said the Government had done all it could to negotiate with the traditional owners and raised the idea of compulsory acquisition when negotiations collapsed as Indigenous groups disagreed. He said it was important for the whole State that the $30 billion project be allowed to proceed. Stephen Smith agreed that the project should proceed but said the Premier's tactics were wrong. The discussion turned to the refugee issue, with Gerrit van der Sluys suggesting that people in detention were given more help and better treatment than homeless Australians. Renee Deleuil took the opposite view, saying she felt shame and sadness to hear the hat
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