In his first major speech since being ousted as prime minister, Tony Abbott has warned European leaders of the ramification of allowing asylum seekers to cross their borders.
Speaking at the Margaret Thatcher Lecture in London, Abbott said denying entry to “people with no right to come … is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever”.
“No country or continent can open its borders to all-comers without fundamentally weakening itself,” he said.
Abbott used Australia’s success of “turning back the boats” as an example that Europe could do the same thing.
“It’s now 18 months since a single illegal boat has made it to Australia. The immigration detention centres have all-but-closed; budget costs peaking at $4 billion a year have ended; and – best of all – there are no more deaths at sea,” he said.
“The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in. Working with other countries and with international agencies is important but the only way to stop people trying to gain entry is firmly and unambiguously to deny it – out of the moral duty to protect one’s own people and to stamp out people smuggling.”
Attending the lecture was several Tory ministers in UK prime minister David Cameron’s government, Conservative Party officials and some of Abbott’s current and former staff members.
You can read his full speech to the lecture here.
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