Features Australia

The Spectator Anglo-Australia Forum

15 September 2018

9:00 AM

15 September 2018

9:00 AM

The Aussie sun shone down over a glistening Sydney harbour only metres from where the First Fleet landed back in 1788. At the beautiful Pier One Hotel, the Spectator Anglo-Australian Forum saw a wonderful crowd of Speccie fans thrilled, delighted and challenged by great discussions, chaired by Andrew Neil, with former PM’s John Howard and Tony Abbott, ministers Steve Ciobo and Matt Canavan, Nigel Farage, Janet Albrechtsen, Ticky Fullerton, David Flint and Michael Baume. Our thanks to all who assisted and took part. And our heartfelt gratitude to the Pratt Foundation. It was a most productive, inspirational and illuminating day.

Andrew Neil:

‘Doing a deal with the EU that involves wine? Well, good luck with that!’

Nigel Farage:

‘Brexit is above economics. It is about us taking back our independence as a sovereign, self-governing nation, including controlling our immigration policy.’

‘If we’re forced to fight a second referendum, the political class will be shocked by the reaction – it could break the British political system as we know it. I’m going back on the road, I’m going to campaign for Brexit.’

Tony Abbott:

‘I should make a confession. I was one of those foreign luminaries who advised the British not to leave the European Union. I was wrong. And I have to say I cheered the day the Brexit result came through.’

‘A lasting partnership between Britain and Australia could be put together on a single page – trade fully free of tariffs and quotas.’

‘I’m not saying an unemployed Glaswegian skinhead can come and be unemployed at Bondi. We just need a regime that is as simple and as un-bureaucratic as possible.’

‘When I said to a member of the government the day after Brexit that there should now be an urgent free trade deal with Britain, this individual said ‘but wouldn’t that make it harder to get a deal with the EU?’, to which I said ‘you will never get a free trade deal with the EU. Never!’

Janet Albrechtsen:

‘On the day of Brexit, I remember having this amazing feeling of a win for freedom. The buzz was tremendous.’

David Flint:

‘We are part of an Anglo-sphere of benevolent great powers. The whole basis of our culture is essentially British.’

Michael Baume:

‘Australia post-Brexit has the potential to reduce the cost of living in Britain.’

Steve Ciobo:

‘Any deal we do with the EU/UK will come back to the core issue of a trade-off between what we do on geographic indicators with the Europeans and what they do on agricultural access for us.’

‘We are not going to flood Europe with beef and lamb, we are a premium player and we have trouble enough meeting demand from our own region.’

‘I’m more optimistic than Tony Abbott – I do think it is possible to do a deal with the EU.’

‘Defence Industry is a terrific opportunity. Our stated goal is to become a top ten defence exporter globally in a decade’s time.’

John Howard:

‘You don’t understand this country unless you understand its links with Ireland and the Irish.’

‘I have a long record at a political level of seeing how pernicious and anti-free trade the European Union has always been.’

‘If I can make a political observation, the problem the British Prime Minister faces at the moment is that she has lost her authority.’

‘I have an even greater incentive to see a conservative British government remain in power because of the absolute abominable toleration of anti-Semitism in the British Labour party.’

Matt Canavan:

‘One of the great benefits for Britain out of Brexit is to move away from what has been a slow growing continent to a fast-growing
Asian continent.’

‘I’m all for a trade agreement, but I don’t think we need a trade agreement with Britain. They can just unilaterally open their borders like
we have.’

‘The biggest potential is the greater opening of British capital to return to this region. Britain was at its strongest when it led the world in reducing its own tariffs and protection – a kind of Pax Britannia.’

Watch the fun and highlights of the day here

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