The UK should abandon the “statism and bureaucracy” of the European Union and prioritise a one-page free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia. According to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, this simple move would provide a post-Brexit blueprint for the two trading partners ahead of similar agreements across the Commonwealth.
In a foreword for a report by UK conservative politicians James Cleverly and Tim Hewish, Mr. Abbott claimed “Britain was back” and ready to reclaim its status as a world leader able to trade with any nation on earth.
“The country that gave the world the English language, common law and the mother of parliaments is once more to seize its destiny as a global leader,” he said.
Mr. Abbott said no two countries were more like-minded than Britain and Australia, with a common language, set of values and much-shared history.
“If Britain is determined to make the most of Brexit – and everything about Prime Minister (Theresa) May shows this steely determination – why not strive for a one page FTA with Australia?” he wrote.
“If a car is fit to be sold in Britain, it’s fit to be sold in Australia. If a doctor is fit to practise in Australia, he or she is fit to practise in the UK,” Mr. Abbott said.
He said the movement of goods between the two nations should be “absolutely free of tariffs or quotas”.
“Provided people are coming to work rather than to take advantage of social security or health services, Australians should also be free to live in the UK and vice versa.”
The report, published by the Free Enterprise Group, urged the UK to cut deals with Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and India as a starting point.
This is not the first time the British-born politician has waded into the Brexit debate.
In an address at the UK/Australia Chamber of Commerce last October, Mr. Abbott pronounced himself an enthusiastic convert to Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU). Besides the new doors opening for global trade, he applauded British voter common sense in taking back their country against all the naysayers who predicted disaster.
Mr. Abbott has also been a strong advocate of tough border controls. He has previously warned the EU to seal its porous borders to guard against “invasion”, adding that the mass migration of people claiming asylum in Europe cannot be “managed”, it had to be “resolved” at the point of entry by the simple expedient of saying “no”.
This action will now be possible for Britain once it secures the Brexit voters have demanded.