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Greens Senator for SA Sarah Hanson-Young welcomes new citizens

Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young had the honour of welcoming and congratulating almost 100 new citizens at the Mitcham Australia Day citizenship ceremony today. 

"The people becoming citizens today are committing to making a positive contribution to their new home country and I'm honoured to welcome them," Senator Hanson-Young said. 

"We thank them for choosing to call Australia home and for the richness multiculturalism brings our nation.

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Greens say Paris attacks should inspire empathy with asylum seekers

The Australian Greens have welcomed the Syrian refugees beginning to arrive under Australia's emergency intake, cautioning the world against lashing out in anger over the horrific attacks in Paris.

"A united Australian community is much stronger in helping to defeat these threats than one that's divided. Hate is the problem here, it's not the answer," said Greens Leader Richard Di Natale.

"As a community we need to recognise that the people seeking refuge in Australia are fleeing the kind of violence and barbarism that we've seen in Paris.

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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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Coalition’s comments on ‘deodorant for migrants’ unhelpful and destructive

The remarks by Teresa Gambaro that migrants, including those on temporary visas, need compulsory training about hygiene are unhelpful, the Australian Greens said today.

"By all means, inform migrants about how they can access services in Australia or how our legal system works," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"But focusing on body odour is blatant dog whistling from the Coalition.

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Here's how to create long-term, safer pathways to Australia for asylum seekers

The sight of the two big parties exchanging and releasing letters on Tuesday was a performance that gave little hope for a sensible, humane or long-term response to the complex humanitarian issue of asylum seekers.

Australia receives around 2% of asylum applications to industrialised nations - over six months we receive equivalent numbers of unauthorised arrivals that Italy receives in one weekend. Yet political consideration of asylum policy is so warped our leaders were reduced to bickering like note-passing schoolchildren.

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Australia should take the Java survivors found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR

The Australian government should commit to resettling the survivors of the Java boat tragedy once they have found by the UNHCR to be refugees in genuine need of protection, the Greens said today.

"The UNHCR has said they are ready to help in assessing the protection claims of survivors and try finding a safe country for those found to be refugees," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"Australia should do what we can to assist them.

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Java boat tragedy requires a regional humanitarian response

The Australian Greens have rejected renewed pushes to expel asylum seekers to Malaysia or Nauru following the Java boat tragedy, and have advocated again for an increase in the humanitarian intake with a direct resettlement programme.

"We need a humanitarian response that deals with the realities of why people flee on leaky vessels and not get sidetracked by discussions of border protection or national security," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Govt should stay course with community release of asylum seekers

Despite concerns from some quarters, the Gillard government is right to be moving more asylum seekers into the community when they have been assessed as safe to do so, the Australian Greens said today.

"It is cheaper and is decent of the federal government to be moving more fragile people into the community, rather than having them languishing indefinitely in detention centres," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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