brexit_post_11_australia-1Britain doesn’t need Europe. Sure, it may no longer have an empire, but the UK still has close cultural and political ties with its former colonies. Now that Great Britain is finally breaking away from Europe, it will be free to renew and deepen those ties.

At least, that’s the argument from Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, one of the architects of Brexit. He wants Britain to develop closer links with the English-speaking “Anglosphere” countries, including America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

We had a comment from Mike, who seems to agree. He argues that leaving the EU will give Britain the opportunity to forge a closer relationship with Commonwealth countries such as Australia. Could this be a chance to resurrect the glory of the old days, when the map was covered in pink bits (except, this time, without the moral baggage of colonialism)?

To get a response, we spoke to Kevin Rudd, two-time Prime Minister of Australia (2007-2010, 2013), at Friends of Europe’s recent ‘State of Europe’ roundtable event in Brussels. What would he say to Mike?

We also had a comment from Yanni, who argued that Australia should be seen a model when it came to immigration. During the UK’s Brexit debate, Australia’s immigration policy (with its point-based system) was indeed often held up as a successful example that other countries should follow.

In addition, the so-called “Pacific Solution” (in which asylum seekers are transported to off-shore detention centres on Pacific islands) is sometimes cited as a possible solution to the EU’s refugee crisis. This policy was largely discontinued during Rudd’s first term in office (and critics still argue the system facilitates human rights abuses), but was reintroduced after he left government (and, in fact, he supported it during his second term as Prime Minister).

So, how would Kevin Rudd respond to Yanni? Are there lessons Europe could learn from Australia’s experience with immigration and asylum?

Will Brexit lead to stronger ties between Australia and Great Britain? Or will the UK be at the ‘back of the queue’ for a trade deal with Commonwealth countries? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

147 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Ivan Burrows


    And Canada, the USA, India, China ….. in fact stronger ties with the rest of the planet including the Nation States within the EU.

    The world is far larger than the decaying EU.

    • Jesse-James Peters

      But as Britain has already declared, it doesn’t like foreigners and wants to see them fail. India doesn’t like Britain. It’s Prime Minister doesn’t like us either. The US has made it clear what it thinks of us at the G20.

      And why would we have stronger ties within the EU? You have openly declared you want to see them fail.

    • Ivan Burrows

      Jesse-James Peters

      We will have strong ties within the EU simple because of the fact 10 million ‘European’ jobs rely on trade with its biggest customer and although Brussels doesn’t care the ‘elected’ governments of the Nations do. Unlike ‘EU Europeans’ the Americans will do a trade deal because they understand what makes the world turn, particularly like minded democracies. Are you for or against TTIP by the way ?

      Who do you think will leave the pointless EU next, France or Italy ?

    • Duncan

      @Jesse-James, when did Britain declare we don’t like foreigners and want to see them fail?
      If you take the words of a few thousand people from one demography within the UK and use their opinions to stereotype all 65 million of us then you could I guess claim it is what we all think. But that’s an extremely biased way to draw up evidence. I could do the same to prove we are all Jewish, or that we all work in the car manufacturing industry, or that we all shop at Aldi, or that we’re all in prison for breaking the law. So please, stop being a muppet.

    • Ricardo Santos Marques

      You’re so obviously a shill it hurts my eyes. Been seeing you post on random posts in this page and you’re always spewing the same thing.

    • James Thomas Hywel Purdue

      Nevermind that some of the largest economies are in the EU, oh and that we are already a WTO member via it. As well as already having trade deals with a lot of them already.

      That dude you’re talking about will have likely have left, plus the rules in the WTO are just as onerous (arguably more so) and don’t cover services (our bread and butter).

      Personally I want my country to be better not just indulging in damage limitation.

      Ps. Don’t get snippy with me I’m not here for a fight. Writing from a phone, it can be hard to get the tone right.

    • James Thomas Hywel Purdue

      What’s with all the name calling (project fear supporter) we’re not 10 and this isn’t a playground, grow up!

      That article you recommended reads like a conspiracy theorists fantasy. Absolutely no balance and completely ignores the fact that Greece put itself in that hole by not collecting taxes, lying to the EU about its accounts and squandering the funding from the EU.

      Funny how Greece still wants to be in the EU regardless though eh?

    • Ivan Burrows

      James Thomas Hywel Purdue

      If something disagrees with your EU ideology its a conspiracy ?, how very European of you comrade, here’s an idea, ask the the 440 million ‘EU Europeans’ if they want to be in your EU.

      So the migrant crisis, the unemployment crisis, the Euro crisis, the banking crisis, the agricultural crisis, the security crisis and the democratic deficit crisis are nothing to do with Brussels ?, do you work there by any chance ?

      What do you EU quisling actually think ‘ever loser union’ means ?

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @James Thomas Hywel Purdue
      When did Britain declare that it doesn’t like foreigners?

    • Paul X

      Well at least the UK will not have to beg to a small principality in Belgium before it can sign a trade deal with Canada

    • Duncan

      Beg, that’s hilarious. I needed that laugh, really brightened my mood so thanks. :)

    • Tom Byrne

      Beg .. he he he … what a numpty …. problem will be trying to limit trade deals …. we only have so much capacity to suppy!

    • Ricardo Santos Marques

      Clearly that’s why the UK is in such great shape while other countries that gave A LOT more to the EU are much better.

    • Jean-Pierre Rosa

      Tom Byrne delusional twit. You don’t produce anything..

    • Jean-Pierre Rosa

      Ricardo Santos Marques the UK has banking to feed it’s economy. That’s it. Apples and oranges.. or are you trying to compare Greece with the UK?

    • Ricardo Santos Marques

      Not really I’m comparing it to economies of it size like France and Germany doing much better in all metrics, socially and economically

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Jean-Pierre Rosa
      The UK doesn’t need to beg its close ally Australia for a trade deal as Australia has a similar fair-minded mentality to the UK and not the corrupt, unacountable and undemocratic mindset that dominates the EU.

      Incidentally, Australia is NOT foreign in the eyes of the UK as are nearly all EU nations – just lookup what ‘FCO’ means.

    • Henry Smith

      Obviously we should care, it’ll be important for both countries

    • Bobi Dochev

      You are free to care as much as you want to – but the question comes from, lets say “The rest of the members” which have nothing common with the UK’s or Australia’s decisions. Why they care how you going to rearrange your life without EU stupidity :)

    • Duncan

      The ripple effect? In order to stay up to date on world affairs? Just off the top of my head that’s two reasons why the remaining EU might care.

    • Duncan

      Really? Wow, I never knew that. It’s becoming more of a good idea everyday then. So glad I voted for it :)

    • Paul Naylor

      Shittttt I just realised , it’s a lie , there is no actual cure for cancer

    • Martin Brent

      Baaaaah hahah ha ha haha … That’s a side splitter! Anymore like that one and I’ll book you for our firms Christmas do.

    • Susan Hutchison

      Just because I have pride and faith in my country making a success after we leave the unelected bully boys of EU and you haven’t. ..if you want to be European go live in Europe. …

  2. Jon Bromfield

    Ivan Burrows. If your so happy trading with China and India.. Please explain to me what has happened to British steel ???

    • Duncan

      I can answer that question. It’s been devalued by firstly, comparatively high industry wages in the UK, and secondly, by the strength of the pound against currencies of other steel producers, and thirdly, smarmy politicians wanting to export carbon emissions to look like they are somehow making a difference to global climate change (well, we’ve cut carbon emissions by x% in the UK, but sadly China has increased it’s carbon footprint by x%, and the general public buy into the idea). Let’s face it though, British steel might see a comeback if the exchange rate keeps making importing steel less and less affordable. It’s not as if we’ve ran out of the raw materials.

    • Tom Byrne

      Going the same way EU steel …

    • Jon Bromfield

      Tom Byrne But EU steel is still their.. Britains is not…big difference. And I’m not interested in Europe. Like me you should be interested in Britain not Europe now we have brexit

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Jon Bromfield
      Why don’t you ask Nigel?

      Seriously though, British Steel was hampered by expensive energy, EU competitors ‘cheating’ the system at the expense of the UK and EU protectionist trade laws.

  3. Jon Bromfield

    Heather Greenway. Your forgetting 2 things.. One import tarrifs.. 2 We have no trade aggrements set up .. Feel free to express your thoughts

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Jon Bromfield
      You forget 3 things:

      1…Import tariffs can work bi-directionally.
      2…The UK is the biggest net trader with the EU.
      3…Failing a trade agreement the UK can always drp to WTO tariffs.

  4. Michael Crahart

    No the Australians, Canadians & etc will tell us to get lost!

    We can’t go cap in hand to our former colonies and then be told to sod off, we would be a global laughing stock 😂

    • Duncan

      Cap in hand? We’re talking about strengthening international relations and forming trade agreements, not asking for a handout!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Michael Crahart
      Yeah right! :)

      Already Australia is seeking to negotiate a better visa deal for the UK than the crappy one the EU negotiated for us on our behalf with a fellow Anglophone nation having the same HoS.

  5. Terry Johnson

    we joined in the first place because trade with the commonwealth was dropping as they found new markets

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Terry Johnson
      …and the UK left the EU as trade with the EU was dropping in holistic world terms as new markets expanded and the corrupt, undemocratic and unaccountable EU declined.

  6. Kenneth John Bardsley

    What absolute cobblers. NO WAY can we replace the single market with the other countries you mention. Cloud-cuckoo land. Total blinkered delusion. Away with the fairies. Optimism gone mad.

    • Duncan

      ? You make it sound as though wether or not we’re part of the single market will somehow make the single market disappear. If we leave the single market, we can still buy and sell to people in the single market. Besides which, we import more than we export to the single market. So logically we would be better off NOT ‘replacing’ the single market. Money into the economy is good for the economy. Money out of the economy is bad for the economy. Being so heavily dependant on imports is something the UK needs to change as it takes money away from the economy. Much like the payments to the EU do.

    • Tom Byrne

      We wont replace it we will trade with it under WTO rules … we save a fortune … cost the EU a fortune .. so they will want to reduce that and offer free trade ….

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Kenneth John Bardsley
      What absolute cobblers^N – where N is a large number approaching infinity.

      Limiting trade to c7% of the world’s population i.e. the EU is somehow better than expanding trade to c93% of RoW?

      What complete irrational, illogical, hyper-biased balderdash!

    • Mark Stanton-Huxton

      Yes, I read your economic paper about it. Fascinating analysis.

  7. Simon Kennedy

    Well I certainly hope so,the Australian people are wonderful, I’d love to go back again. Must get saving.

    • Mark Stanton-Huxton

      I think we need a bit more meat on the bones than that.

    • Duncan

      We and the Australians may enjoy banter with each other. But it won’t have any negative effect on business decisions.

  8. Brian Boru

    Damn right, we should never have turned our back on them in the first place, but the traitor/coward Heath had no family, so how could he understand that family’s may squabble, family’s may be estranged, but ultimately family’s have blood ties that can never be broken!
    Commonwealth-Family, EU?….F**K ALL!

    • Brian Boru

      Just over 24.25 million. Still a majority of whom are descendents of British settlers, and still a large number who were UK born, and still popular with UK citizens for starting a new life.

  9. Ioana Anagnos

    not sure how one nation can decide for another half a world away in another continent, where really the disperate existence still reflects regal supremacy of “one culture” which forlorned them [borne of those not making the grade as citizens in one and sent away as criminal class] to another. it is clear they had rejects then, and continue to demand supremacy over migrant classes who may have arrived from less wealthy homeland, but traveled freely ..[by choice]. it seems once bitten twice shy Australia ..listen to your people , not ties to your [ imagined]superior class who tease you into believing you mean something other than economic power [built on migrant labour]. no offence, but after 230 year..its time you stopped “lying back and thinking of England”.. stick your finger out and cut ties.. start a revolution for justice of the pilfered classes , show them you dont still listen to their drivel..

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Ioana Anagnos
      You live in Greece – the country that created democracy, practices anarchy and promotes revolution [even outside its own deluded borders] at the drop of a hat.

      Greeks historically and to this day have a great track record in academic circles [at least the social sciences anyways] but not too great when it comes to governance and leadership.

      Your post seems to reflect the fact that Aussies have a greater respect for the UK than corrupt, ungovernable, undemocratic, unaccountable Greece and all you have to offer is anarchy?

    • Duncan

      @Iaona, you clearly know nothing about either nation. You’re also clearly in favor of creating some sort of sentiment of animosity between the two nations. We have a healthy sports rivalry with Australia, we enjoy banter with Australians, and they enjoy banter with us. It’s actually a sign of affection within our cultures. I’ve never once met someone who genuinely fealt superior to an Australian based on merit of being British, and never met an Australian who fealt superior to Brits because they were Australian. I do know a few people who’ve moved to Australia for the weather and laid back lifestyle that wide open spaces and a warmer dryer climate can offer. And I’ve met a few Australians who’ve come to Britain for various reasons, Study, travel, visiting relatives are the usual ones. I’ve also met some New Zealanders under similar circumstances. They’re collectively a great bunch of people.

  10. Carl Kukla

    Free trade deal with China….about right for a diminished little ex jmperial power with only a low paid service industry

    • Duncan

      Where are you talking about? Because frankly this is a debate about the UK and Australia, and neither fits the description you’ve just given. Please try to stay on topic, failing that, at least explain what it is you are talking about.

  11. Javier Cordal
  12. ioana anagnos

    not sure how one nation can decide for another half a world away in another continent, where really the disperate existence still reflects regal supremacy of “one culture” which forlorned them [borne of those not making the grade as citizens in one and sent away as criminal class] to another. it is clear they had rejects then, and continue to demand supremacy over migrant classes who may have arrived from less wealthy homeland, but traveled freely ..[by choice]. it seems once bitten twice shy Australia ..listen to your people , not ties to your [ imagined]superior class who tease you into believing you mean something other than economic power [built on migrant labour]. no offence, but after 230 year..its time you stopped “lying back and thinking of England”.. stick your finger out and cut ties.. start a revolution for justice of the pilfered classes , show them you dont still listen to their drivel..

  13. Bill Laing

    Only if we don’t invade it with the Yanks!( unless there’s oil of course)

  14. Paul Armes

    They did already hint at free movement between OZ & UK, IF our boarders were controlled like theirs are, we’re not alone in wanting to stem the locust’s flying in..

    • Nigel James Brown

      Very unpleasant analogy, comparing people fleeing persecution with insects. Hope you never find yourself in that situation…and your punctuation and spelling are abysmal.

    • Paul Armes

      Oh the grammar police.. My spilling mite knot bee grete nudge but I can guarantee I dribble in my pants less than u.. Studying some alternative media outlets will, unlike the BBC lessen your ignorance..

    • Paul Armes

      What remark has upset u Neil? Or r u just feeling left out?

    • Duncan

      You think that’s the only example of cooperation between the UK and Australia? Read a history book or two!

    • Tony Timms

      EU has tried to do a deal with Oz but Spain and Italy have blocked it. Due to the the Australians being able to produce fruit and veg cheaper than them, even factoring in the transportation costs

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Manuel Joy
      The EU market is a protectionist racket and the French would never allow superior Aussie farming produce to compete fairly with the EU.

      PS: Your name suggests that you are an Onanist?

  15. Mark Keenan

    You mean we can trade freely with other countries including those in the commonwealth community were currently not allowed to? The blatant lies and stupidity of remoaners beggars belief

    • Mark Keenan

      At least I understand democracy. Unlike the safe space brainwashed generation and the wilfully ignorant

    • Mark Stanton-Huxton

      Apparently “Democracy” is about acting like a petulant child 😅😅😅

    • Mark Keenan

      Exactly. Especially when you lose a vote. Carry on.

    • Duncan

      @Mark Staunton-Huxton, why ask the same question repeatedly when you were already given an answer? More to the point though, you’re implying trading with Australia is a bad idea because of population, so since Australia is one country of many much as individual EU nations here’s my counterpoint, what’s the population of the republic of Ireland? See, I can make a point by the same flawed logic as you. :)

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      and fears the ‘Banana Federation’ that is the EU!

    • Duncan

      I think you’ve got Britain mixed up with the U.S.A. It’s the US that has an American Dream, we don’t have a British Dream, to quote comic character Al Murrey (yes he’s a fictional person, not actually saying what we all think) mainly because we are awake.

  16. Eleni Chryssomalakou

    No because of 1. Geography 2. Australia trades with China , US and S. Korea.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Eleni Chryssomalakou
      The UK is a service dominated economy – distance is not so significant.

  17. Gordon Webster

    Of course it will. We should never have abandoned the Anglosphere to pander to people who want to destroy us economically, because they couldn’t do it militarily.

    • Matthew Hart

      But the good old indomitable British spirit still enabled us to become worlds 5th largest economy…destroyed economically.. a bit strong perhaps. I travel a lot. In world terms EU citizens enjoy a great living standard which has been achieved through cooperation.

    • David Lawes

      Try telling that yo a 20 year old Italian on a temporary contract.

    • Gordon Webster

      And the Greek and Spanish kids who will never find work. Or perhaps tell it to the miners, shipbuilders, steelmen, and fishermen who lost their jobs thanks to EU quotas. Those going to food banks and soup kitchens will also disagree. There is an FU Jack, I’m alright attitude in this country, thanks to EU Rule, that I find disgraceful.

  18. John Saguato

    I am a EU citizen i am free to move around my beloved Europe with no passport and will remain a EU citizen iBrexit or no i like my culture traditions history to protect from the US or India end so on and on i am prepare to move in any country which is in the Euro zone and part o Shegan and become French German Italian and so on and on the EU is the future Australia and co. are the pass

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @John Saguato
      You NEED a passport to come to the UK BTW!

  19. Adie Roebuck

    We will trade more outside the EU so probably. The far east is the real market we need to tap

    • Gordon Rankin

      “We will trade more”

      That’s not possible since we already trade with the ‘whole’ world. I assume you mean we will build FTA’s with countries outside the EU?

      Which is all fine and dandy except that our current arrangement gives us FTA’s with 51 non-EU countries, and access to the largest single economy on the planet, the EEA or ‘single market’.

      I think people are confusing trading with FTA’s. FTA’s reduce the cost of trading, but we already trade absolutely everywhere, and have done for the last 100+ years.

      If we negotiate a trade deal with Australia, which is what I think you’re suggesting, well that market is a population of 23 million. Which is nothing. Especially when you consider that the distance means the trade deal will be more expensive for us in terms of good transportation, and that the EEA (single market) gives us access to 500 million people right on our doorstep.

      “The far east is the real market we need to tap”

      Nope. The single best thing we can do for our economy, is keep our incredibly lucrative access to the largest and most important economy on the planet. The EEA. There is absolutely nothing outside of that market that can compete. It’s not even close.

    • Matthew Hart

      Gordon Rankin totally agree

    • Adie Roebuck

      All sounds very authoritative only the EEA requires free movement of people without a vote. Or to put it another way get everything the majority voted against without any control over policy making
      Without a doubt that is the worsed idea for a brexit yet

    • Duncan

      Gordon Rankin, totally disagree, not least of all since you’ve gotten your population facts wrong. Just shows what level of research remain supporters were willing to put into their decision to change nothing at all. Is this laziness I can’t help but wonder? Speaking exclusively from a point of view of our interests are more important, why is it essential to our economy that we buy a load of stuff from the EU and sell less stuff to the EU? Apart from a few select regional delicacies, what do we buy from the EU that’s irreplaceable? Next, when you look at imports over exports, the EU sucks money from our economy at present, based just on the fact our EU imports cost our economy more than our EU exports make us. This is before we consider the cost of membership and any and all money sent home by EU migrant workers rather than being spent in our local economy. The single market may well be a big market, but it really is not a benefit to our country to be in it financially speaking. That’s before you truck into that the fact it came with ever changing conditions of membership. How long till we would have been forced to give up something like right to defense, or needing EU consent before we can build houses?

  20. Bruce Neilson

    We have a huge market in the Commonwealth who also fought on OUR side in two world wars but we dumped them in favour of the corrupt inefficient EU

    • Dave Tooke

      No. the Commonwealth market is small compared to the EU. Most of the commonwealth has no money. So they won’t buy stuff from us.

      And the EU is not corrupt, certainly not compared to many Commonwealth countries.

    • David Lawes

      And Greece Spain and Italy have loads of money and no corruption eh? Talk about delusional.

    • David Lawes

      Australia is a high wage economy because its powerful trade unions are largely responsible for its legendarily tough immigration policies.

    • David Lawes

      They protect local jobs for local Aussies, which is essential in a global economy. The Aussies would be daft to do any deal with the UK involving free movement unless and until we are fully out of the EU and the waste of space single market.

  21. Stewart Robinson

    Yes it will.
    We will also be able to trade with the fastest growing economies in the world.
    The Saudis also want to trade our services.
    The EU project is dead

    • Duncan

      443 million, the UK’s post brexit trading with the EU will NOT include the UK’s population. . . . . .

  22. David Lawes

    I’d take the Raft of the Medusa over the Titanic any day, the EU being the Titanic.

  23. Phil Tidey

    Of course not. The Australian population is now less than 50% European heritage and the country has China and the rapidly growing economies of SE asia on its doorstep. Why should they care about and give preferenial consideration to a declining country on the other side of the world just because it would fit the brexiters 1950s worldview?

    • Duncan

      Please ask a valid question “why would” and “just because” appearing in the same sentence of a question shows you’ve already decided upon the answer. Your question, so phrased in fact can only have one purpose and has nothing to do with asking a question. It’s about asserting your pre determined opinion as the only possible explanation. I get enough of this from the media and politicians, I don’t want it from other places also.

  24. Yasmine

    Let’s be honest. Nobody really cares…

  25. Tony Perkin

    : But without “free movement of labour”. We sent Oz Rabbit’s & the Oz’s populated Earls Court …….

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