It is hard to think of two countries that have more in common than Australia and Britain. We share a language and a rich history – and, in the main, a sense of humour. We are both maritime trading nations. Australia inherited many fine British institutions including parliamentary democracy and the common law. Yet, as a recent Lowy Institute poll demonstrates, too often the relationship is focused on the past rather than the future, on sentiment rather than shared interests. More than eight in 10 Australians see the Australia-Britain bilateral relationship as important.