Tony Abbott... has issued a warning to European leaders in first address after losing office.
Tony Abbott... has issued a warning to European leaders in first address after losing office. Chris Ison

Tony Abbott urges Europe to turn back asylum seekers

FORMER Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has urged European leaders to close their borders to desperate asylum seekers or risk leading  "much of Europe into catastrophic error'.

In his first major speech since losing office, Mr Abbott delivered the second annual Margaret Thatcher Lecture at a banquet in London.

Mr Abbott urged leaders to act by "turning around boats [and] denying entry at the border for people with no right to come".

"It will require some force, it will require massive logistics and expense; it will gnaw at our consciences," Mr Abbott said.

"Yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever."



Mr Abbott highlighted the success of Australia's policy in turning boats around and stopping illegal immigration.

"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. That's why stopping the boats and restoring border security is the only truly compassionate thing to do."

"In Europe, as with Australia, people claiming asylum - invariably - have crossed not one border but many; and are no longer fleeing in fear but are contracting in hope with people smugglers.

"However desperate, almost by definition, they are economic migrants because they had already escaped persecution when they decided to move again."

"Our moral obligation is to receive people fleeing for their lives. It's not to provide permanent residency to anyone and everyone who would rather live in a prosperous Western country than their own."

"That's why the countries of Europe, while absolutely obliged to support the countries neighbouring the Syrian conflict, are more-than-entitled to control their borders against those who are no longer fleeing a conflict but seeking a better life."

"This means turning boats around, for people coming by sea. It means denying entry at the border, for people with no legal right to come; and it means establishing camps for people who currently have nowhere to go."

"It will require some force; 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.

"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."

Is Tony Abbott right on asylum seekers?

This poll ended on 11 November 2015.

Current Results

Yes. We need to ensure only genuine refugees are let in


No. Australia's hardline policies are morally wrong


I don't think Mr Abbott should be telling Europe what to do


I agree with his comments about putting countries at risk


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"Some years ago, before the Syrian conflict escalated; extended into Iraq; and metastasised into the ungoverned spaces of Libya, Yemen, Nigeria and Afghanistan, I got into trouble for urging caution in a fight that was "baddies versus baddies".

"Now that a quarter of a million people have been killed, seven million people are internally displaced and four million people are destitute outside its borders and considering coming to Europe, the Syrian conflict is too big and too ramifying not to be everyone's problem."

"The rise of Daesh has turned it into a fight between bad and worse: the Assad regime whose brutality is the Islamic State death cult's chief local recruiter; and a caliphate seeking to export its apocalyptic version of Islam right around the world.

"Given the sheer scale of the horror unfolding in Syria, Iraq and everywhere Daesh gains a foothold -the beheadings, the crucifixions, the mass executions, the hurling off high buildings, the sexual slavery - and its perverse allure across the globe, it's striking how little has been done to address this problem at its source.

"Of course, the challenge of militant Islam needs more than a military solution - but people do have to be protected against potential genocide.

"Of course, you can't arrest your way to social harmony - but home grown terrorism does need a strong security response.

Mr Abbott acknowledged the overwhelming majority of Muslims "don't support terrorism - but many still think that death should be the punishment for apostasy".

"Of course, the true meaning of Islam is a matter for Muslims to resolve - but everyone has a duty to support and protect those decent, humane Muslims who accept cultural diversity."

He ended his speech with these words: "All of us, then, must ponder Margaret Thatcher's example while we wait to see who might claim her mantle. Good values, clear analysis, and a do-able plan, in our day as in hers, are the essentials ofthe strong leadership the world needs."


Cooee Bay Sports Complex: "Think from what I have read that is a realistic view as to the authenticity of many of the so called refugees being male and in the prime of their life who would otherwise be called to defend their country not flee and the woman and children be given the refugee status??? There is a lot happening that the media are not reporting on either by choice or ignorance or just plain corruption."

Michael Ferguson: "Well how about we close our bloody doors too!"

Jim Wilson: "Too late."

Christine Eckhardt: "I believe more focus on what why how their countries are places that make fleeing a need is essential. When they get to a new country do they want to earnestly recant their citizenship and take up the values of the new country? Often they want to keep their home country culture and values and citizenship. Is this a form of infiltration that is happening without cognitive intent?"

David Bates: "Tony who?"

Joyce Mijnhout: "Yes he is right.!!"

Debbie Boykett: "It's too late to have your say. .u had your chance to run this country the right way and you failed."

Lorraine Westen-Baugh: "First time ever I agree with this bloke. Far as I'm concerned, U.K. Needs to put up electrified fences and armed guards to patrol them, fire a few shots over head of the buggers, should put them off. Block of that poxy tunnel too. It was scrapped in the 1800s as a bad idea then!"

Michael Brown: They should've close iraq and Syria borders years a go !! 2 million innocent people die !!! Invasion for a oil and gold !! it's worth it !!! Human rights only works in west !! don't worry about east!!"

Tanya Fagg: "My view will be unpopular and that's ok. I believe we need to take a much more compassionate view. This country was founded on taking in people from every nationality, every country, and yes, every religion. We took in Germans after the Second World War, we didn't believe that all Germans were like Hitler. We took in Vietnamese after the Vietnam War because we didn't believe that all Veitnamese were the same. My own great grandparents came from Russia. This country has always accepted those who need help. It didn't matter if they passed other countries on their way or their reasons for leaving. There are very few in Australia who cannot trace their heritage back to another country and none of them white. But now you hear that Islam is bad. Yes it may be BUT we have Muslims in this community who have worked hard, contributed to the economy of our region, been integral parts of our communities and gone to school with our children. Not once have we had to change our beliefs, celebrations or lives for them. People hear on the news that Muslims are going to take over. Show me where. Tell me when a Muslim has made YOU change something. The true face of Muslims in Australia is the ones you see in OUR town. Not the propaganda you read in the papers. There are radicals in every religion eg- Westboro Baptist Church. Why do people believe that all Muslims are bad? If you believe I am wrong tell me your story. Tell me your personal story about what an Australian Muslim has done to you? If you can't provide that story maybe you should start thinking rather than just believing what you read in the papers."

Lorraine Westen-Baugh: "And, what's this crap that Annastacia Palaszczuk says , that Qld is " willing" to take 3.5k of the "refuges"???? Did anyone actually ask the public????"

Patricia Brown: "I THINK WE NEED TO CLOSE OURS OFF. They are about to bring in 12000.. Refugees and they have been pledged 44 million $$$$. PLUS another 770 million $$$$on top of this over 4 years. OUR FARMERS are suffering ..."

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