But his belief Australia could have a leading role to play in the league of nations comes amid a debate in the British parliament on new visa laws set to see low earning Australians deported and tougher restrictions to stymie new migrants wanting to come into the UK.
Speaking on the eve of Commonwealth Day on Monday, where the Queen will lead celebrations at Westminster Abbey, Lord Howell said in an unsettled world the league of 53 nations had added importance particularly as a bloc to fight jihadism.
But he said Australia was in the box seat as a rising power in Asia to drive that influence and expansion that could only aid the UK doing business in that region.
“My sense is Australia feels the value of the growing Commonwealth network as never before,” he told a Commonwealth briefing at Buckingham Palace yesterday.
“The issue is how Australia fits into the rising new trade patterns of the world which now favours the Commonwealth.
“A place like Perth in Western Australia looking at the Indian Ocean is really becoming something of the centre of the world, rather than an outside part of the world, as is the other side of the country facing the southern Pacific as well.”
He added: “Its no longer the Anglocentric system of the history, although its true the Queen as head of it is here, this is a network and Australia is a key part of it.”
His words came as in the House of Commons, MPs were lining up to condemn plans by the Government to next month introduce the first of a tranche of new laws designed to reduce migrant intake from countries outside the EU.
The average salary in the UK is 26,500 pounds and the Government wants to use higher salary thresholds to prioritise higher value, skilled migrants within the Tier 2 visa route.
Some MPs who spoke to the bill said plans to deport those earning less was “crude” and “ludicrous” and had caused confusion and uncertainty and could create a skills shortage in the UK.
Under new rules companies would also have to pay a surcharge to employ a non-EU migrant. The government is yet to speak on the bill.
news.com.au 11 Mar 2016
Maybe model for Australia to send back low paid migrants back to where they came from.