The UK and Australian relationship post-Brexit

UK in a changing Europe: Brexit and beyond (pg159-160)

The UK faces a number of tasks as it engages in trade talks with Australia, now that it has secured an agreement with the EU and efforts to forge trade and other ties with the rest of the world gather speed.


When Australia became a British colony over 200 years ago, this far-flung country was to be imprinted with the influence of the UK on its society and its political system — and British colonisation had a devastating impact on Australia’s indigenous population.

The UK was Australia’s most important market from the time of colonisation. There was a close affinity with British traditions and its people. For a century and a half, Australia was even regarded as ‘good and solid members of a British family of nations’.

When the UK joined the European Community in 1973, Australia lost the privileged access which it had enjoyed under the 1932 Ottawa Agreement to the British market for its goods, particularly primary products, leading Australia to accelerate its trade orientation to Asia.

Australia launched trenchant critiques of the EU as protectionist, especially its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). This critique, influenced in part by a British media prism, undermined the scope for a closer relationship between the EU and Australia for some decades, although without any significant impact on UK or EU opinion. The condemnation of the EU was not accorded much attention, with Sir Leon Brittan stating, during a visit as EU trade commissioner in 1998: ‘Being completely frank, we haven’t suffered terribly from Australia’s attitude’.



Continue reading the whole article on pages 159-160 of the "Brexit and Beyond" Report by UK In a Changing World

The UK and Australian relationship post-Brexit
Professor Philomena Murray,
Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, Honorary Professorial Fellow in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Member of Fide’s International Academic Council.

UK in a changing Europe: Brexit and beyond (Full Document)