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Failure

Tabloid headline, 1935The Secession Delegation which went to London with such high hopes and great fanfare in 1935 returned to Western Australia within two years in complete failure. After months of lobbying British governments in order to have their petition received by the British Parliament, the delegation could only have the matter referred to a joint committee of the Houses of Commons and Lords. After much delay they rejected the petition on the grounds that the British Parliament could not act without the Australian Federal Parliament's approval.

The comments of H.K. Watson, one of the delegates, reflects the level of disappointment among delegation members at their failure. Immediately after learning the British Parliament had decided to ignore Western Australia he launched an attack on the Australian Prime Minister and expressed his frustration with the democratic parliamentary process:
"It is utter humbug 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.

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.

27 May 1935 Daily Herald"
Watson proposed direct action by forming a kind of volunteer force to protect the landing of cargoes at Fremantle preventing, by force if necessary, Commonwealth Customs officials from collecting duty. Although quickly rejected by other secession delegates, his comments reflect the absolute failure of the Dominion League. Having placed all their faith in the British Government coming to the aid of loyal Western Australians, the Dominion League was left with nowhere to go once the British Government and Parliament made clear their indifference.

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