'Aussies back closer ties with post-Brexit Britain' Ben Packham, The Australian
"A majority of Australians support closer ties with Britain once it breaks away from the European Union, despite being largely ambivalent about the impact of Brexit on their own lives.
A new YouGov poll found nearly two-thirds of Australians back freer movement between Australia and Britain after Brexit, while 56 per cent believe it is in the nation’s interests to reach a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain.
But there was little consensus on the question of whether Australia would be a net winner or loser from Brexit. A third of respondents said they didn’t know if Brexit was a good or a bad thing for Australia. In all, 23 per cent said they believed Australia would benefit if Brexit became a reality, while 20 per cent said it would disadvantage Australia.
Those surveyed were more emphatic on the prospect of easier movement of people between Australia and a post-Brexit UK, with 30 per cent saying it should be made “significantly easier”.
A further 32 per cent said movement between Australia and Britain should be “somewhat easier” but not as close as between Australia and New Zealand, while 23 per cent said there should be no special free movement arrangements between the two nations.
Only 13 per cent of Australians said a free-trade agreement with Britain would not be in Australia’s interests, while 31 per cent were undecided on the benefits of a Australia-UK free-trade agreement. The poll sampled the views of 1503 Australians across the country.
The EU has extended the Brexit deadline until January 31, but the terms of the split are yet to be negotiated.
Australia is positioning to be the first country to sign a comprehensive post-Brexit trade deal with Britain, after preliminary talks at August’s G7 meeting between Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is favourite to win Thursday’s British election.
Britain’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said after a recent meeting with Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham that Britain would be seeking new rules allowing British citizens to live and work in Australia visa-free, and vice-versa, as part of the trade talks.
Britain is the second-largest source of foreign investment into Australia at almost $600bn. Two-way trade already stands at $29bn."
by Ben Packham, The Australian
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