Greens- a new beginning on asylum seekers?

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Media release from the Greens:

The Australian Greens have called for discussions with the new Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, to work towards a more sensible approach to asylum-seekers, according to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Immigration and Human Rights, says she has written to Mr Bowen to congratulate him on his appointment and to seek to establish a workable relationship with regular meetings in the new Parliament.

“Mr Bowen’s appointment provides a new opportunity to convince the Gillard Government that its offshore processing policy and suspension of asylum claims for Afghans is not the answer,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“The Coalition has made it quite clear that it is not interested in changing its inhumane approach.

“This is an opportunity for the Gillard Government to break free of the race to the bottom on refugees that was displayed in the recent election campaign.

“Australia should not be trying to palm off its responsibilities as a regional leader to the poorest nations in our region, whether it be East Timor, Nauru or somewhere else.

“This week I will be travelling to Darwin to visit immigration facilities and see for myself the conditions in the centres, which have already been the subject of criticism.

“There are a number of key immigration issues the Greens want to work with Mr Bowen to resolve.”

These issues include:
• Lifting the suspension of Afghan asylum claims
• Ending the practice of children in immigration detention
• Abandoning the Government’s East Timor Solution and drawing a line under further offshore processing
• An end to indefinite and long-term detention, with judicial review of detention beyond 30 days
• A public campaign to provide the facts to the community and promote the positive and valuable contribution refugees have made to Australia.

“We need to do better in providing information to the Australian people, to help them understand that asylum-seekers are not to be feared, and that their numbers are small compared to the 50,000 overseas visitors who overstay their visas every year,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“We oppose offshore processing as a solution to deal with vulnerable asylum-seekers. They should be brought to the mainland and housed close to appropriate support and services, where they can be processed quickly, fairly and humanely.

“The Greens will continue to stand up for the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees and champion a more compassionate approach which a growing number of Australians agree with.”


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