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Labor attacks WA government over disunity

AAP logoAAP 16/08/2016 Greg Roberts

WA's Labor Opposition used parliament's first sitting since the winter break to attack the government over the disunity that culminated in Brendon Grylls seizing back leadership of the Nationals last week.

Opposition leader Mark McGowan said on Tuesday the public disagreements between the Liberal and Nationals government partners, including undermining by some MPs hoping for Mr Barnett's replacement, were unprecedented in Australian history.

Mr Grylls last week proposed imposing an extra mining tax on resources giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto to get the government out of its debt and deficit woes, accusing them of not paying their fair share.

That was swiftly criticised by Mr Barnett, deputy premier Liza Harvey and Treasurer Mike Nahan among other MPs.

He also dismissed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's pledge to set a floor for how low a state's GST share could fall, which was triumphantly welcomed by Mr Barnett with WA receiving record low returns in recent years.

Mr Grylls said it would not kick in for a few more years and would not benefit the state.

Mr Barnett told parliament Mr Turnbull's objective was to have a new system including a floor when distributing GST to the states in place by the end of this year.

Mr McGowan said government MPs were at war with each other and undermining the premier, referring to Mr Nahan's recently confirming leadership tension and the view that Transport Minister Dean Nalder wants to be premier.

"Is there any greater demonstration of the dysfunctional nature of this coalition government, that we we have a senior minister, the leader of the National party (Mr Grylls) no less, advocating major differences of policy publicly ... from the premier of the state," he said in parliament.

Mr Barnett challenged Mr McGowan to pick any portfolio, saying his government's record would better than Labor's in government.

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