Australian economy praised

Mr Howard met Mr Brown in his offices near Downing Street while London was in the grip of another suspected terrorist bomb attack on its bus and train network.

Mr Howard was at lunch with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street when news broke of the attacks.

Despite the drama, Mr Howard kept a planned meeting with Mr Brown.

Mr Howard later told an Australian business function the meeting was positive and that he and Mr Brown had resolved some questions over taxes affecting foreign residents.

“We talked about the economy and he remarked on what a remarkably strong fiscal position Australia had at the present time,” Mr Howard said.

“We were able to iron out some of the imperfections in taxes affecting foreign residents and I would like to believe we have the capacity to do more in a number of taxation areas.”

Mr Howard also told the function that Australia remained an attractive place for British companies to invest in.

He also hit out at critics of the Australian government’s controversial industrial relations laws changes.

“When our new changes are completed our labour market will still be more highly regulated than those in the United Kingdom,” he said.

“It’s a reminder that our changes are calm, sensible, valuable but not radical and not extreme and that is the point of reassurance that ought to be made on as many occasions as possible.”

Mr Howard also highlighted Australia’s economic credentials and the continuing need for reform.

Speaking at his first public appearance since arriving in the British capital from Washington, Mr Howard gave a wide-ranging speech on issues including industrial relations reforms, trade liberalisation and superannuation.

He said Australia was enjoying its 15th year of economic expansion and growth thanks to the government’s across the board reforms.