Media Release | Spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young
It’s time to accept that the current system of detention of asylum-seekers is not working, and that as a compassionate country we need to find a new approach, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Immigration, says that the Greens want to bring experts together to rethink Australia’s system of immigration detention. Her call comes as the Australian of the Year, Patrick McGorry, has called for a total overhaul of the Government’s asylum-seeker policy.
“This issue is too important to get bogged down in partisan politics. The tension and levels of anxiety and frustration festering within the various detention centres show the system is toxic. We have to find a better way,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“The Greens propose a Community Taskforce, which would focus on getting experts around the table who have the knowledge and experience in key areas of mental health, children’s welfare and refugee advocacy. This group would work with the Government and political representatives to discuss alternatives to what has become a failing system.
“The formation of this taskforce will be an issue I will discuss with Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, when I meet him next week.”
Senator Hanson-Young said she urged Mr Bowen to visit detention centres to get an understanding of the realities facing asylum-seekers.
The Greens oppose the Government’s suspension of the processing of claims from Afghans, which is driving a backlog of cases in the system, and adding to mental health pressures on vulnerable asylum-seekers.
“People who have fled torture, trauma and persecution are already at high risk, and the uncertainty makes their situation worse,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“We’ve been down this path of indefinite detention before, we know how it ends. Opening up the conversation between the experts and the Government should drive a more humane and practical response to people seeking our protection.”