The former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has praised the far right prime minister of Hungary, Victor Orbán, and warned a conference in Europe about “military age” male immigrants “swarming” the continent.
In a speech that praised the central European country’s race-based immigration and population policies,Abbott also criticised Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, for recent remarks that they would not have more than two children due to the effects on the environment – saying it would make little difference “when so many children are being born elsewhere”.
The former leader of Australia, a staunch conservative who was ousted as prime minister by his own centre-right Liberal party in 2015, was appearing at a Hungarian government-backed summit on demography in Budapest on Thursday. He gave a lecture on what European countries could learn from Australian immigration policy.
He said the left was attempting to undermine western society with migration and the “climate cult”.
“The vast majority of migrants did not come to Australia to change us but to join us,” Abbott told the conference. “There were the British or the Irish coming in our first 100 years. They changed us but for the better, in for instance the artistic sense.
“The problem with the people who have been swarming across the borders in Europe in very recent times is that you don’t get any impression that they come to join. You get the impression they come to change.
“I mean … you get a million angry military-age males swarming into a single country in a year. They are not there to be grateful, they are there with a grievance. And people who come with a grievance are very different to people who come with gratitude in their hearts.
“There is an absolute moral world of difference between people who cross a border to be safe, and people who cross multiple borders to have a better life. No one can blame them for wanting a better life but nobody has a duty to give it to them unconditionally and with no questions asked.”
Abbott criticised Harry and Meghan for recent comments that they would not have more than two children due to the effects on the environment.
“Having fewer children in western countries will hardly make the climate better when so many children are being born elsewhere,” Abbott said.
Abbott, who lost his Sydney seat of Warringah at the recent federal election, also praised the nativist policies of Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, who promotes boosting the Hungarian population and fiercely resisting immigration.
“I think he is perfectly entitled to take that focus. As a general rule I am all in favour of families with children,” Abbott said.
He said Orbán had “the political courage to defy political correctness”.
Orbán opened the conference on Thursday in a speech that tapped into the far-right “great replacement” theory. A fear of rising populations in other parts of the world was the dominant theme on the opening morning of the Budapest summit, despite the presence of delegations from many developing countries.
The tone was set by an artistic performance that opened the forum, portraying hordes of people from the south and east advancing on Europe.
Orbán said it was conceivable that Hungary, with a population of just under 10m that is shrinking due to low birthrates and emigration of Hungarians to EU states further west, could simply disappear.
“It’s not hard to imagine that there would be one single last man who has to turn the lights out,” he said.
“If Europe is not going to be populated by Europeans in the future and we take this as given, then we are speaking about an exchange of populations, to replace the population of Europeans with others,” Orbán said. “There are political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.”