Australia calls for free trade deal with the UK
The move is seen as a boost to new British Prime Minister Theresa May, who described the call as "very encouraging" and insisted it showed Brexit could work for the UK.
She spoke to her Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull, who said he wanted to open up trading between the two commonwealth countries.
May has told the UK's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox to begin exploring options but admitted Britain could not sign any deals while it was still a member of the EU.
She has vowed to embrace "the opportunities to strike free trade deals with our partners across the globe".
She added: "It is very encouraging that one of our closest international partners is already seeking to establish just such a deal."
"This shows that we can make Brexit work for Britain, and the new Secretary of State for International Trade will be taking this forward in the weeks and months ahead." ■