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SA death in custody needs independent investigation

The Australian Greens have called for an independent investigation into the death of a young Aboriginal man in a South Australian prison while demanding strong action be taken to reduce the rate of Aboriginal incarceration in the state.

"Our thoughts are with this young man's family and friends," South Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"This case is tragic and requires more than an internal police investigation. What we need is a rigorous independent investigation to get to the bottom of exactly what happened here.

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Amnesty International’s call for time limits and detention centre closures should be heeded

The Australian Greens have today urged the Gillard government to follow the recommendations of Amnesty International's report to impose time limits on detention and shut down remote detention centres.

"If we want to stop already fragile people from harming themselves or taking their lives, the only way to do it is by closing detention centres on Christmas Island and elsewhere," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young.

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Greens call on government to fix legal black hole for impoverished Indonesians

The Australian Greens are the only political party trying to change unjust laws which are keeping Indonesian children and adults stuck in prison without charge for longer than people accused of serious offences.

"While the old parties squabble about leadership challenges, the Greens are drafting bills and having them referred to inquiries to address the legal and procedural black holes," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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‘Daily Tele’ misses a chance to tell truth about community release of asylum seekers

The Daily Telegraph has blown an opportunity to tell its readers the reality of what happens when asylum seekers are released into the community, the Australian Greens said today.

"Last year the paper showed the dangers asylum seekers faced under the Malaysian solution, but this year it has given a false picture of community release programs here on shore," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"That's a real disappointment because there are so many myths about asylum seekers which continue to be perpetuated.

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UNHCR chief’s remarks a chance for calmer debate on asylum seekers

The UNHCR chief, Antonio Guterres, has last night highlighted the relatively small number of asylum seekers seeking Australia's protection compared to countries including Italy, the Australian Greens said.

"Last year 58,000 people arrived in Italy and Malta and 100,000 reached Yemen, compared to around 6,000 in Australia," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"Despite what some may want to believe, we do not have a national security problem, we have a humanitarian one and we need to keep things in perspective.

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$1 billion on detention centres could be better spent on dental care

The $1 billion Australian taxpayers are spending on private company Serco's detention centre contract would be better off going toward a public denticare scheme, the Australian Greens said today.

"Letting detainees live in the community after initial health and security checks while their protection claims are assessed is 90 percent cheaper and 100 percent fairer compared to a detention centre," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Greens make progress on amending Migration Act to cut mandatory sentences

The Greens have today introduced into the Senate a bill to amend the Migration Act to restore judicial discretion to the courts in deciding sentences for convicted people smugglers.

"The Greens have tabled this bill because the government's much-hyped mantra of being tough on people smugglers is not working and is instead leading to injustice," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"While people smuggling must be tackled, the government continues to punish only the little fish and never the kingpins that actually control the syndicates.

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Release children into community and end Immigration Minister’s conflict of interest

The Gillard government must make it a priority to move asylum seeker children and fragile families into the community, Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"In October 2010 Minister Bowen said the government would move most children and vulnerable families out of detention, because their incarceration was harming their mental health and development," Sen. Hanson-Young said.

"This must be hastened this year because we know this damage is preventable by letting people live in the community after initial health and security checks are done.

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