The former Australian Prime Minister has urged UK ministers to change the law to solve the small boats’ crisis.
Tony Abbott managed to solve a similar immigration crisis in his country which he said amounted to a “peaceful invasion”.
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel, following a small boat incident in the Channel. Picture date: Monday January 2, 2023. Gareth Fuller
Speaking exclusively to GB News about what he believes the UK needs to do, he told Camilla Tominey Today: “We had people entering our country illegally at a rate which amounted to a peaceful invasion. And no sovereign country can tolerate its borders being violated by people who just get on boats, and land on your shores. So we had to stop that.
“We did a number of things. We reinstituted some governance policies, temporary protection visas, delivered offshore processing, and turned boats around where it was safe to do so. We also brought in some initiatives of our own. We had a news blackout announcing every single arrival as it was effectively shipping news for people smugglers.
“I can't say they were popular policies, there were lots of claims that these would be against human rights. Some even said they were against international law. But we were absolutely determined to stop the people smuggling trade, to stop the deaths at sea, to keep our country secure and sovereign. And the only way you can do that is by keeping control of your borders.”
On the need to face down opposition in this area he said: “These policies were bitterly opposed by the Labour Party in Australia when we first put them forward. They were very heavily criticised from many different quarters while we were actually doing them.
Tony Abbott joined Camilla Tominey on GB News GB News
“In the end, this is one of one of those situations where success creates popularity, and because the policies succeeded, they were widely adopted. And I certainly think there's a lesson there and a potential model for other countries such as the United Kingdom, who have got a problem with illegal arrivals by boat.”
Urging the UK Government to take on lawyers in this area he added: “If you've got a problem with the activist lawyers, or lawyers bringing legal actions to try to frustrate the policy of the Government, you've simply got to change the law.
“Now, my understanding is that there's no reason why the UK Parliament couldn't change the law to remove the jurisdiction of the European Court that prevented the removal of people to Rwanda. There is no reason why the law couldn't be changed. And certainly, successive governments in Australia confronted activist lawyers against fair government's policy designed to keep our borders safe. We simply changed the law and that's what you've got to do where the law isn't working.”