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  • Emilie Dye and James Skibinski

Why Australia should go all the way with the UK

Updated: May 19, 2021

While most of the western world is in recession because of COVID-19 lockdowns, China has been busy gearing up their export machine. Australia’s over-dependence on China led to massive supply shortages and panic earlier this year.

Thankfully, Senator James Paterson and the Adam Smith Institute have a solution: CANZUK.

Still, many fear CANZUK will turn into another EU. CANZUK would allow free movement and trade between Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

With a combined GDP of $US6.5 trillion and an account for global trade of $US3.5 trillion, the CANZUK countries could establish a trading bloc and compete with the world’s top three economies: the US, EU and China.

Skilled workers from all over CANZUK could move freely and exchange ideas without changing Australia culture. People could move for lifestyle, climate, or because they have a fascination with large and dangerous spiders.

But some fear an agreement would lead to labour shortages in one country and an excess of workers in another.

The per capita GDP in the UK is three times that of Poland and people can expect to live two and a half years longer.

So with the EU allowing freedom of movement, many Poles packed their bags for the UK. Meanwhile, the Britons became angry believing there was an oversupply of workers and fearing changes to British culture.

It’s unlikely a CANZUK agreement would lead to the same angst that shaped Brexit. Already the CANZUK country with the greatest per capita wealth, Australia, and the country with the least wealth, New Zealand, have complete freedom of movement.

The differences in GDP and life expectancy between the four CANZUK countries are so minimal we could expect a much more gradual and equal flow of people.

Meanwhile, China is taking progressively more aggressive steps against Australia, and the western world, including sanctioning trade because the Australian government sought an international inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic and keeping lists of Australian citizens.

Australia needs every advantage it can get. That means banding together with our brothers New Zealand, Canada, and the UK, and pulling out of this recession. Free trade has indisputable advantages – specialisation of labour, higher salaries, and cheaper goods.

Furthermore, this agreement would help us break free from our over-dependence on trade with China. As currently designed, CANZUK would avoid the many pitfalls of the EU while taking advantage of all the benefits free trade has to offer.

The EU hinders European economies with over-regulation, placing quotas on industries such as steel, fishing and farming to stop internal competition.

The Common Agricultural Policy uses subsidies and tariffs on food imports to control food prices. This protectionist approach has led to artificially high food prices and environmental degradation.

Furthermore, the EU restricts outside trade requiring a country to seek approval from all 27 member states before they can strike a trade agreement with an outside nation.

Britain left the EU in part because it could not negotiate its trade deals. CANZUK supporters don’t want subsidies, tariffs, quotas, or any other rules that infringe on the sovereignty of its members.

Proponents of CANZUK know that we will succeed as four equal brothers under four flags bonded by shared history, language, and values. Industries from the four countries will compete with each other to produce cheaper goods more efficiently and improve wages and opportunities for their citizens.

Most importantly, Australia will have strong trade agreements with countries more closely aligned with our values. Let’s take the sting out of China’s sanctions and remove the Communist Party’s power over our politics.

This article first appears in the Daily Telegraph on 6 October 2020.

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