Tony Abbott's refusal to participate in the Multi-Party Reference Group shows the Coalition has no intention of saving lives, the Australian Greens said today.
"Tony Abbott has no intention of helping refugees, but is only interested in continuing to play politics with the lives of these vulnerable people, even at the expense of our own navy officers' safety" said Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today.
"The Coalition's policy of turning back boats and taking away their fuel shows they are only interested in punishing and hurting refugees rather than finding safer pathways and protections for asylum seekers."
"Tony Abbott's insistence on pushing boats back to Indonesia will not only cause more death to refugees but will also seriously endanger our navy personnel and undermine any efforts of working together with the Indonesian government".
"The Coalition's policy already breaches the Refugee Convention, and now Tony Abbott wants to force our navy officers the breach the laws of the sea just so he can look tougher on the world's most vulnerable people".
"The Navy has already said they won't do this, Indonesia has said they won't agree to take boats back, and yet Tony Abbott continues to pretend his policy has legs".
"The Greens support of the comments made by Former Chief of the Australian Defence Force Admiral Chris Barrie, who has condemned the Coalition's policy as dangerous and irresponsible".
"No experts support the Coalition's policy, and rather than being prepared to talk about alternative options through the multi-party group and a better way to help care for refugees, Mr Abbott continues to embarrass Australia in the eyes of the intentional community and threaten the lives of our navy personnel".
"The Greens will continue to put forward our sensible and practical steps for savings the lives of refugees and caring for the world most vulnerable people. This means helping to boost the assessment of refugee claims in Indonesia and Malaysia and increasing the refugees we resettle directly out of these camps, so there is no need for people to board boats in the first place".