Australia–United Kingdom relations


Australia–United Kingdom relations

Anglo-Australian relations are close, marked by shared history, culture, institutions and language, extensive people-to-people links, aligned security interests, and vibrant trade and investment cooperation.

The long-standing relationship between the United Kingdom and Australia formally began in 1901 when the six British Crown colonies in Australia federated, and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed as a Dominion of the British Empire.

Australia fought alongside Britain in World War I, notably at Gallipoli, and again in World War II. Andrew Fisher, Australian prime minister from 1914 to 1916, declared that Australia would defend the United Kingdom "to the last man and the last shilling."

Until 1949, the United Kingdom and Australia shared a common nationality code. The final constitutional ties between United Kingdom and Australia ended in 1986 with the passing of the Australia Act 1986.

The contemporary political relationship between London and Canberra is underpinned by a robust bilateral dialogue at head-of-government, ministerial and senior officials level. As Commonwealth Realms, the two countries share a monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, and are both active members within the Commonwealth of Nations. In 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair became, somewhat surprisingly, the first British head of government ever to address the Australian Parliament.

Formal economic relations between the two countries declined following the United Kingdom's accession to the European Economic Community in 1973. Nevertheless, the United Kingdom remains the second largest overall foreign investor in Australia. In turn, Australia is the seventh largest foreign direct investor in the United Kingdom.

Due to Australia's history as a colony of the United Kingdom, the two nations retain significant shared threads of cultural heritage, many of which are common to all Anglosphere countries. English is the de-facto language of both nations, and as such the United Kingdom and Australia share not only the language itself, but the entire heritage of English literature, philosophy, poetry, and theatre. Both peoples are historically Christian, although increasingly secular and diverse in the modern era. Both legal systems are based on the common law.

Streams of migration from the British Isles to Australia played a key role in Australia's development, and the people of Australia are still predominantly of British or Irish origin. According to the 2001 Australian Census, around 1.2 million Australians were born in the United Kingdom. Although the last substantial scheme for preferential migration from Britain to Australia ended in 1972, the United Kingdom remains the largest source of Australia's new migrants. There is a population of around 400,000 Australians in the UK, , especially in Greater London [cite web
url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/uk/05/born_abroad/countries/html/australia.stm
title=Born Abroad – Australia
author=
date=
publisher=BBC News
accessdate=2007-10-17
] .

See also

* Anglosphere
* Britain-Australia Society
* British Australian
* Australians in Britain

References


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