UK & World News

  • 17 June 2014, 15:04

Australia And UK No Longer 'Best Mates': Poll

For more than two centuries Australia and the UK have had a bond which has been unbreakable, despite being so far apart.

But a new poll suggests the two countries are no longer "best mates".

The survey found more than eight in 10 Australians see the relationship as important, with 28% saying it is very important.

However, when asked to choose Australia's "best friend" from a list of six countries around the world, the UK came third in popularity behind the United States and New Zealand

Around a third (35%) of Australians said the US was their "best friend", while just under a third (32%) nominated New Zealand.

The poll was carried out by leading Australian think tank the Lowy Institute.

It also found Australians feel closer to the other English-speaking nations than to their neighbours in Asia.

When asked to choose their country's "best friend" from a list of six countries around the world, the United States, New Zealand and the UK ranked well above China, Indonesia and Japan, with only 11% choosing any of the latter three.

Two-thirds of the 1,200 respondents said shared history and cultural connections between Australia and the UK meant they felt a great deal of warmth towards "the poms".

But interestingly the survey showed only 26% of Australians questioned believed it was because Britain is still a major economic and strategic power.

Neither is it all about cricket. The "great sporting rivalry between the two countries" is seen by only 5% of Australians as the reason they think the relationship between the UK and Australia is important.

"This is a good time for our two nations to focus on our relationship and our shared interests in Asia and beyond," said Lowy Institute Executive Director Dr Michael Fullilove.

"The United Kingdom is an important international actor and a fellow member of the G20 and the UN Security Council."

The survey comes ahead of a conference in Oxfordshire in June where UK and Australian experts and policy officials will discuss the challenges and opportunities in Asia, strategically, economically and diplomatically.

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