The NSW Treasurer has labelled Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan “the Gollum of Australian politics” in the latest chapter of bitter interstate rivalry over the GST.
Dominic Perrottet launched a stinging attack on the popular premier after WA banked a whopping $5.6 billion budget surplus.
“Mark McGowan is the Gollum of Australian politics,” Mr Perrottet told Sky News on Friday.
“You can just picture him over there in his cave with his little precious – the GST.”
Mr McGowan returned fire on Friday, accusing the eastern states of trying to distract from their own mismanagement.
“They are now using the GST as the excuse. They’ve not lost a single cent as a result of the reforms,” he told a Business News breakfast in Perth.
“They’re just trying to point the finger somewhere else for their own mediocre performance.”
After handing down the state budget on Thursday, Mr McGowan predicted other state leaders would be “wildly angry” at WA’s economic success.
He warned he would fiercely resist any bid to unwind the GST revenue deal that guarantees WA a return of 70 cents to the dollar.
Mr Perrottet, who opposed the revamped carve-up arrangements, said NSW and Victoria had predicted the deal would result in major wins for WA.
“What struck me about yesterday’s budget in WA is a substantial surplus but no reform there to protect those monies into the future when there is a downturn,” he said.
Senior Morrison government cabinet minister Simon Birmingham said the Lord of the Rings reference was an entertaining analogy.
“But can I say to all of the state leaders, state premiers, state treasurers, Labor, Liberal, keep the parochial banter to the footy finals,” the Finance Minister told Sky.
“What isn’t going to help the country is constant sledging of one another across state borders, whether it’s from Mark McGowan to other premiers or from the NSW Treasurer to other leaders.”