21 Sep ‘We’d NEVER accept it’ Australian senator says Britain is RIGHT to quit ‘undemocratic’ EU
Nick Gutteridge — Daily Express — 21 September, 2017
BRITAIN has made the right decision to quit the “undemocratic” European Union which imposes a loss of sovereignty other countries would not accept “in a million years”, a leading Australian politician said today.
Senator James Paterson told express.co.uk leaders of other world nations, including his own, that openly backed the Remain camp last year should consider whether they could ever sign up to Brussels’ restrictive regime.
The influential MP, who is chair of the Australian parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, is a leading advocate of a ‘CANZUK’ free trade zone between Commonwealth nations after Brexit.
The initiative would see the creation of a tariff free area and visa-free travel between the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but with none of the political trappings of an EU superstate.
Senator Paterson, who was the only Australian politician to argue in favour of Brexit during last year’s referendum, said such an arrangement would create the world’s fourth largest economy with “huge potential”.
And he was scathing about how the EU has evolved from a simple trading bloc into a “supranational state” which has sucked sovereignty away from individual countries and into the arms of unelected eurocrats.
The Australian Government formally backed David Cameron’s attempts to keep Britain in the Brussels club last year, with foreign minister Julie Bishop arguing that “a strong UK as part of the EU would be in Australia’s interests”.
Tony Abbott, then the country’s prime minister, also openly backed Remain although later insisted he did so because he thought the EU needed Britain, and not the other way around.
But Senator Paterson, from the centre-right Liberal Party, said such statements were hypocritical given Australia, which is famed for its enterprising approach to free trade, could never accept the kind of restrictions imposed by EU membership.
He said: “We’re very fond of all our neighbours and we have good trading relationships with them, and good cultural exchanges, and we welcome them as tourists and investors and all those things.
“But no Australian in their right mind would ever accept any of our neighbours dictating to us what effectively our domestic policies would be, but also our foreign policy, our trade policy, our immigration policy.
“Never in a million years would we sign up to something like that, which is why I thought it was very strange that we’d expect anyone else to do the same.”
Senator Paterson, who has repeatedly spoken of the huge potential positives for both the UK and the rest of the world that can arise from the decision to leave, said he understood why Britons voted to join the club in 1973.
He said: “I understand why Britain and other countries joined an economic community in the 1970s with free trade principles – that makes good sense.
“But the EU has long, long since ceased to resemble what it was then and now is clearly a supranational state and can only exist at the expense of the sovereignty of its member states.
“So I think at its core it has a very undemocratic feature, which is that you have to cede very significant parts of your autonomy to a central governing body that you only have limited influence on.”
As well as Australia’s leaders the prime minister of New Zealand and, most famously, US President Barack Obama also heavily backed the Remain camp in the run up to the referendum.
However, their interventions were widely seen as a tactical blunder as British voters bristled at the suggestion they should have to accept conditions attached to membership they knew such other countries never would.
This article originally appeared in the UK’s Daily Express.