Former Australian PM defends stand he took on Sri Lanka

Tony AbbottFormer Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has defended the stand he took on Sri Lanka when he was Prime Minister.

Abbott was accused of backing the Mahinda Rajapaksa led Government when it was accused of grave human rights abuses.

Abbott has penned a 3,706-word essay for the rightwing magazine Quadrant defending and celebrating his two-year period in office, The Guardian reported.

Australia’s former prime minister says he is proud of his decision to not “join the human rights lobby” and take a stand against what he describes “tough but probably unavoidable actions taken” by the Sri Lankan government during the civil war there.

Abbott says not mentioning the alleged war crimes would have pleased the Sri Lankan president, which was important because it was a “seminal truth” that “all politics is personal” – an aphorism he attributes to the US vice-president, Joe Biden. He suggests his diplomacy allowed the two countries to cooperate more strongly to stop asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia.

That sort of diplomacy is also embodied, he says, by an interaction he had with Indonesia: “As a very early sign of good faith to the Indonesians, I had West Papuan activists, who’d arrived in the Torres Strait claiming asylum, quietly returned to Papua New Guinea.”

West Papua is a province of Indonesia, which has been fighting for independence. Indonesia has been accused of shooting and beating activists and there have been claims of torture.

When it came to stopping the asylum seeker boats, Abbott says that even before he was sworn in as prime minister he met with border protection agencies and told them their duty was “to stop the boats by all lawful means notwithstanding fierce controversy at home and possible tension abroad”.

He continues: “Some media claimed that harsh treatment of boat people was being hidden. Some government lawyers claimed that the operation was beyond power. Some senior officials fretted about the consequences for our relationship with Indonesia.

“But the government simply had to stop the boats – our national interest and our self-respect as a country demanded it – and succeed we did through an indefatigable resolve to get it done.”

He adds: “A country that can’t control its borders sooner or later loses control of its future.”

Abbott also trumpets his efforts against terrorism. Because of his decisions – and “despite the Turnbull government’s recent decision not to commit specialist troops to ground operations in the Middle East” – Australia is the biggest contributor, after the US, to the battle against Islamic State.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Tony Abbott is not only physically strong; he is also very strong character in global politics. Probably Vladimir Putin is the other only strong leader in world politics. He knew how to stop Australia bound illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka, most of them with criminal background. When USA and UK used their “Cat’s Pow” UN to attack Sri Lanka, it was Tony Abbott helped Sri Lanka to avoid the unfair accusation from UN. Tony Abbott will remain as a hero in hearts of many Sri Lankans for his moral support given to Sri Lanka during the time as Australian Prime Minister. Hope he can become the Prime Minister In Australia again.

    • Australian settlers are accused of war crimes, ethnic cleansing of the natives. No wonder few Australian leaders still in that mindset and supporting war criminals and genocidal regimes. Why would Australia not supporting an independent international war crimes in Sri Lankan as documentary and video clips emerge of mass atrocities, war crimes, human rights abuses and genocide committed by the Sinhala Buddhist forces and regime in Sri Lanka?

  2. It is a waste of time talking about human rights issues in Australia. Recently, Sri Lanka asked Australia to honour human rights when dealing with immigrants and refugees. When I exposed the outback of Australia and detention centres, the Aussie government deleted my citizenship and prevented me from getting a human rights lawyer to fight my case. If you want to know about Australians, just read the history of Australia, it will enlighten you about the brutal convicts.

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