Tony Abbott does not speak for Australians

Tony Abbott is in London trying to seek justification for his hard-line policies on asylum seekers.

The Age reports that Tony Abbott’s controversy-sparking speech in honour of Margaret Thatcher made Conservative cabinet ministers “wince”, a well-connected Tory blogger says.

Tony Abbott looks better in  budgie smugglers
Tony Abbott looks better in budgie smugglers

It is a pity that someone was not at the Margaret Thatcher speech to remind the audience that Tony Abbott, an elected prime minister, had been dumped by his party because he was leading towards electoral disaster  and was probably the most unpopular Prime Minister ever. And that many people found his policies repugnant.

“The imperative to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ is at the heart of every Western polity … but right now this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error,” Mr Abbott said.

In its editorial today The Age said:

The difficulty in accepting that the Australian approach would work in Europe, however, is that Mr Abbott’s argument is built on four highly contestable foundations: one, that people would not flee Syria or northern Africa if there were no people smugglers; two, that asylum seekers should settle in their first country after fleeing to be regarded as refugees, when in fact many of those nations reject them; three, that economic refugees from Syria or Libya are the norm; and four, that some nations – namely, Germany – are saying they will accept all comers.

While in power, Tony Abbott was becoming a national embarrassment. It appears he is now going to turn himself into an international embarrassment.

There is nothing praiseworthy or noble about Australia’s asylum seeker policies and it’s a pity that the discredited ex–Prime Minister is seeking to prove otherwise on an international stage.

Abbott would be well advised to detour through New York on his trip back to Australia and visit the Statue of Liberty where he will read these words by American poet Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Or perhaps reflect on this from President Jimmy Carter


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