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Push for union with New Zealand

Tim Dick
December 5, 2006

AUSTRALIA and New Zealand should work towards a full union, or at least have a single currency and more common markets, a federal parliamentary committee says.

It wants a closer relationship between the six Australasian colonies that formed the Commonwealth in 1901, and the errant one that chose to go it alone.

The committee chairman, the Liberal Peter Slipper, said the world had changed since then.

Other MPs on the committee include Malcolm Turnbull, Nicola Roxon and Daryl Melham. Their report said: "While Australia and New Zealand are of course two sovereign nations, it seems to the committee that the strong ties between the two countries - the economic, cultural, migration, defence, governmental and people-to-people linkages - suggest that an even closer relationship, including the possibility of union, is both desirable and realistic."

It wants a joint committee between the two parliaments to report on the possibility of union.

"This is not an attempt to annex New Zealand, or have a compulsory takeover," Mr Slipper told the Herald. Any change would have to be voluntary and mutually beneficial.

A spokesman for New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, declined to comment.

The committee also said a common currency should be "actively" pursued, despite the Treasurer, Peter Costello, and his New Zealand counterpart, Michael Cullen, saying last year that it was not on the agenda.

Mr Costello does not want to get rid of the Australian dollar, and Dr Cullen does not want to adopt it, but the New Zealand Government looks more kindly on a common Anzac currency.

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