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Rebordering Britain & Britons after Brexit

Australia and Brexit: Déjà Vu All Over Again?


Recalling the debate about Britain’s applications to join the European Economic Community in the 1960s, Australians are now reacting to and assessing the implications of the Brexit vote for Australia. However, the contemporary situation is very different from that which prevailed in the 1960s. The article assesses Australian commentary and reactions to Brexit before and after the vote. Taking account of the various possible versions of Brexit, there is an assessment of the range of economic and political-strategic implications for Australia. Whatever the final form of Brexit, Australia will need to foster close relationships with both the UK and the post-Brexit European Union. In relation to immigration policy in a post-Brexit UK, Australia’s immigration system does not necessarily provide the ‘answer’; Australia’s relationship with New Zealand through the agreement on Closer Economic Relations might be relevant to Brexit in at least some respects as another model for how economic integration might develop in a regional context. If Brexit was at least in part a populist right-wing reaction to globalisation and neoliberalism, parallels in Australia can also be seen, such as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation; other parallels in Australia relating to Brexit include issues relating to political prudence and the manner of constitutional change.

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Round Table


Derek McDougall (Australia)

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