LONDON, United Kingdom – Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lashed out at the “misguided” immigration policies of European leaders, including that of the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, insisting: “unlike you, we now control our borders”.
Speaking at the Second Annual Margaret Thatcher Gala dinner in the City of London, Mr. Abbott told a crowd of Conservative Party MPs and supporters that seeing off radical Islam, as well as stopping migrants reaching Europe were the most critical battles in modern times.
He said, in a speech that received a mixed reception amongst the audience at the exclusive black-tie event: “All countries that say ‘anyone who gets here can stay here’ are now in peril, given the scale of the population movements that are starting to be seen. There are tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of people living in poverty and danger who might readily seek to enter a Western country if the opportunity is there.
“Who could blame them? Yet no country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself. This is the risk countries of Europe now run through misguided altruism.”
The ousted Aussie PM leant on the legacy of the Iron Lady, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to insist that strong borders and strong defences were imperative to a nation’s success, and warned: “No country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself,” adding, “it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever.”
Mr. Abbott was delivering his first major speech since leaving office in a party coup last month. He was invited by the Margaret Thatcher Centre, a charitable arm seeking to raise funds to commemorate Lady Thatcher’s life with a “presidential style” library and museum.
VIP guests at the event included former British defence secretary Dr. Liam Fox, as well as Tory cabinet ministers including Sajid Javid MP, Iain Duncan Smith, and Priti Patel. Comedian Jim Davidson was also in attendance, raising awareness for his armed forces charity Care After Combat.
Mr. Abbott spoke of Mrs. Thatcher’s resolve during the Falklands War, though the majority of his speech focused heavily on Europe’s migrant crisis. He urged European leaders to follow his example as Australian premier, when he stopped the boats coming to his country, turning them around before they reached the mainland.
He said: “Our moral obligation is to receive people fleeing for their lives.
“It’s not to provide permanent residency to anyone 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 own 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.”