Telegraph – If you want to succeed, follow us Down Under. By Lynton Crosby

Let me get it over with right now: yes, you won the Ashes. Well done. You would win one day. Once every couple of decades is fair enough. Enjoy the victory while you can. Cricket, Crocodile Dundee, sheilas, the barbie and Neighbours – this used to be the stereotypical British view of Australia.

The “special relationship” was reserved for your cousins across the pond. Politicians and businessmen always looked West – to the West Wing, to the West Coast – but never down. After all, Australia was just so far away.

Well, here’s a test. Which country will have no government debt within a year, contributed the most to help those in need after the tsunami, and was described by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as a “model for other countries”, America or Australia? You’ve guessed it. Australia. For so long simply seen as an adventure playground for gap year students or a breeding ground for sportsmen, Australia has now graduated into the world of big players.

Well, la-dee-dah!

Proof? Well, I won’t rely on the fact that Australian troops are in Iraq and Afghanistan. I won’t brag about our free trade agreements with the US, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore. Nor even our progress on negotiating a free trade agreement with China – already a market for many Australian products.

Instead, look to business not just government. I cite as an example Macquarie, a bank that owns chunks of Britain’s water industry, telecoms, gas, not to mention the M6 toll road, a ferry company, an airport or two – oh, and is reported to have its eyes on the London Stock Exchange. And Macquarie is just one of the new Aussie Argonauts here. There’s BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company, and Westfield, the world’s biggest retail property group. All achievers, taking it to the world.

So although we may love the amber fluid, while you have been drinking it, we’ve been working. The Australian economy is now in the 15th year of the longest economic expansion in 50 years – perhaps, according to John Howard, the Prime Minister, “the longest since the gold rushes of the 19th century”. Today this continent, much of it desert, ranks 53rd in terms of world population, but is the world’s 13th largest economy; eighth in the world in income per head from 18th two decades ago.

Showing off, are we?

What happened? While British politicos have spent the last decade hosting seminars on what Britain can learn from America, Australians have taken the advice of Elvis, who memorably sang “A little less conversation, a little more action”.

John Howard (and to be fair, in some areas such as currency deregulation, his predecessor Bob Hawke) practised what he preached: the foundation of a nation’s success is economic growth, and that growth is rooted in economic stability, free trade and rewarding hard work and investment.

Ooh, can our politicos hold seminars on what America can learn from Australia?

All this has been achieved by a Right-wing government. Not Right-wing in a religious sense, where politicians beat their breasts while reciting the Lord’s Prayer, but in a government whose values are those of the Australian people – fiscal discipline; individual responsibility combined with community obligation; fair play; personal freedom; reward for effort; and commitment to the national interest.

Australia is now a confident nation: old enough to look after itself, mature enough to criticise itself, experienced enough to stand up for itself.

Go south, young Sheila.

Heh heh. I was going to end with something really brilliant and insightful, but that just kills me. Btw I skipped tons. Wouldn’t want to get tedious, all that showing off. Ahem.

Update (10.30):

Zoe has dibs on a bit of the M6 through Lancashire.