In a major address delivered in London, Tony Abbott has warned Europe it faces a disaster from the current refugee crisis unless it adopts policies like Australia’s.
In the speech given as the 2015 Margaret Thatcher Lecture to a gathering of high profile conservatives in London on Tuesday night, the former Australian PM urged the UK and Europe to adopt a harder line on immigrants from war torn regions, such as the Middle East.
“Implicitly or explicitly, the imperative to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ is at the heart of every Western polity,” he said, referring to Christian dogma. But he then suggested the urge to follow it should be resisted.
“It’s what makes us decent and humane countries as well as prosperous ones, but right now this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error,” he said.
View the complete video and read the full transcript of Tony Abbott’s controversial speech in London, here
Mr Abbott indicated that his recent demotion allowed him to speak more freely on foreign issues and that the government’s approach to refugees and asylum seekers while under his leadership was one to aspire to.
“While prime minister, I was loath to give public advice to other countries whose situations are different, but because people smuggling is a global problem, and because Australia is the only country that has successfully defeated it, twice under conservative governments, our experience should be studied,” he told the guests at London’s Guildhall.
He said despite the financial and moral costs, Australia’s “not to let them in” approach was the only hope of preventing radical demographic and cultural change in Europe.
“It will require massive logistics and expense; it will gnaw at our consciences — yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever,” he said.
“We are rediscovering the hard way that justice tempered by mercy is an exacting ideal, as too much mercy for some necessarily undermines justice for all.
“The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in.
“No country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself,” he said.
“This is the risk that the countries of Europe now run through misguided altruism.”