20 Aug GOING DOWN UNDER: Britain and Australia could bring in freedom of movement between countries as part of post-Brexit trade deal
Ben Hill – The Sun – Thursday 20 August 2020
BRITAIN and Australia could bring in a freedom of movement deal between the two countries as part of a post-Brexit trade agreement.
Australian MPs are calling for “generous provisions” to allow Brits and Australians to freely live and work in both nations.
In a report called “A Ripper Deal”, Liberal Party Senator James Paterson wrote that the two countries are “bound by deep and historical ties”.
Mr Paterson said that rules should be relaxed allowing citizens of Australia and Britain free access to each other’s nations – in an arrangement which could be a stepping stone for similar deals with Canada and New Zealand.
Once Britain leaves the European Union, it will see the end of freedom of movement to Europe.
Currently, Brits can get free visitor visas to stay in Australia for up to three months at a time, and can also apply for working holiday visas.
Mr Paterson wrote: “This should require minimal regulatory compliance and be simpler to get than the standard work visas in each country.”
He also wrote that a freedom of movement deal could be the first step to a ‘Commonwealth’ union.
“In the long term, a free-trade, free-movement block consisting of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK is an attractive idea in a dangerous world,” Mr Paterson wrote.
He said a free-movement agreement would not “require the UK to sacrifice its newly-reclaimed sovereignty
According to public polling, there is strong support for freedom of movement between the four countries.
Mr Paterson wrote that a deal with Australia post-Brexit would allow for “cheaper goods for consumers”.
He said there would be “more Australian wine being sold in the UK and more Scotch whiskey arriving in Australia”.
Mr Paterson disputed the idea that Britain would have an economic crash after leaving the EU, calling it “bizarre”.
“The UK is not a mere appendage of a much larger geopolitical entity – the facts simply don’t support such a view,” he wrote.
“Even a cursory look at the UK’s position in the world indicates that Britain’s influence will long outlast the debate over leaving the EU.”
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said last year that freedom of movement between the UK and Australia was being “looked at” – but she later went back on that suggestion.
In June, Boris Johnson hailed the start of trade talks between the UK and Australia by vowing to sell Marmite and Penguins to Aussies.
The PM said the two countries already “shared so much” and they would thrash out a deal so Brits could get their hands on more Australian speciality foods including Tim Tams and vegemite.
In a video posted to Twitter, Mr Johnson brandished a family-size pack of the Australian chocolate biscuits Tim Tams, and asked: “How long can the British people be deprived of the opportunity to have Arnott’s Tim Tams at a reasonable price?”
He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled today to be inaugurating the UK-Australia, Australia-UK free trade agreement talks.
“It’s quite extraordinary to think of all the things we trade with each other already even without a free trade deal.
“We import colossal quantities of absolutely delicious Australian wine, we export all kinds of things including – I was amazed to discover boomerangs made in the UK are exported to Australia.”
In a reciprocal twitter video from Aussie PM Scott Morrison, he said he was hopeful a deal could be done as soon as the end of next year.
He said: “For a large part of our economic history the UK was Australia’s largest trading partner and the UK remains today one of Australia’s most important investment partners.
“As we build back from the impact of COVID-19 we have a wonderful opportunity to supercharge our economic relationship.
“It will mean more jobs, more growth, more prosperity in both our countries, and more opportunities for Australians and UK citizens to live and work in each other’s countries.”