21 Apr Aussie politician makes passionate case for Britain to quit ‘disintegrating’ EU
By GREG HEFFER, POLITICAL REPORTER
Senator James Paterson told the country’s upper house Britain leaving the EU on June 23 would make it “more prosperous, free and secure”.
In a speech to lawmakers in Canberra’s Parliament House, the 28-year-old said there is a “very real cost” to Australia of the UK’s continued membership of the Brussels-based bloc.
Mr Paterson, who represents the state of Victoria, savaged the EU as “bloated, undemocratic and hostile to the freedoms that made Britain great”.
He said: “The UK has lost control of their borders and their laws. They have no power to control the intake of migrants from within the EU.
“More than half of the laws and regulations passed each year that govern the lives of UK citizens originate not in their own parliament but in a foreign capital enacted by people who they have no say in electing.”
As well as blasting “failed and immoral” Brussels projects such as the Common Agricultural Policy, Mr Paterson took aim at those in his own country calling for Britain to remain in the EU for making a “very bad argument”.
He said: “There are some who argue the EU would be worse off without Britain’s much-needed sensible and responsible voice in major policy debates.
“They argue that Australia and the world indirectly benefit from this by preventing the EU from making worse decisions.”
Mr Paterson said this argument “has long since ceased to be the case” because the EU “continues to show no signs of willingness to enact sensible reform”, which had been demonstrated by David Cameron’s “failed renegotiation” of Britain’s EU membership.
He added: “We are asking our friends and allies in the UK to bear a very, very high price for an uncertain benefit for us.
“To ask them to shackle themselves to the EU which lurches from crisis to crisis, which is clearly on the way down and hurtling towards possible disintegration is too great a request to ask of our friends.”
Mr Paterson also said if Britain were to leave the EU it would allow Australia and other Commonwealth countries to strike free trade deals and even free movement of people arrangements, which the UK is currently banned from doing by Brussels.
He said if the UK voted for Brexit on June 23, the country’s “friends around the world – including in Australia – would welcome you back into the international community outside the EU and you would have a strong, prosperous and stable relationship with us if you chose to do so”.
He also told his fellow senators “the best thing for Europe would be for the UK to leave the EU and to demonstrate how successful, prosperous, free and secure they could be outside the EU”.
British eurosceptics hailed Mr Paterson’s passionate case for Brexit, with Tory MEP Daniel Hannan praising his “great speech”.
Earlier this year former Australian Prime Minister John Howard revealed his support for Brexit as a means for the UK to quit the “fundamentally flawed” European project.
But the country’s current foreign minister Julie Bishop said the Australian government wanted Britain to remain tied to Brussels as “a strong UK as part of the EU would be in Australia’s interests”.