The Greens’ approach to refugees will save lives by offering a safe, legal and humane alternative to dangerous boats – instead of the major parties’ escalating arms race of cruel deterrence measures.
Kevin Rudd’s decision to dump every refugee in Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s most impoverished countries, is shameful. It is no wonder Tony Abbott has welcomed it.
Not to be outdone by Labor, the Coalition has adopted Labor’s indefinite offshore dumping policy and also promised to open up a detention camp for refugees in a slum in Nauru.
When will the major parties stop their race to the bottom and heed the pleas of the top refugee experts, the Greens and the refugees themselves?
Punishing refugees who are fleeing terror won’t stop them taking dangerous boat journeys, especially when there is no other option ahead of them – and putting children in detention only guarantees a lifetime of suffering.
The right way forward means a commitment to a genuine regional approach that cares for refugees with the kind of political leadership shown after the Vietnam War.
The Greens are the only party with a refugee response based on compassion, legality and the only proven model for saving refugee lives at sea:
· We will increase Australia's humanitarian intake from 13,750 to 30,000, which will make a difference and provide hope to people waiting.
· By resettling to Australia that emergency intake of 10,000 more genuine refugees from our region, we can show refugees that there is a ‘regular’ path to a safe life.
· 3,800 of the new places should go to urgently resettling assessed refugees directly from Indonesia as recommended by the Houston Panel. The Government hasn’t acted on that recommendation and only accepted 600 refugees from Indonesia this year depsite the backlog of refugees waiting in unsafe living conditions.
· Provide an extra $70 million per year in emergency funding for safe assessment centres in Indonesia to provide shelter and welfare services to refugees while they wait for assessment and resettlement
· Boost the capacity of the UNHCR in Indonesia and Malaysia to speed up refugee assessments and resettlements.
· Shut down all offshore detention in Nauru and PNG, with Australia to assess the claims of people who arrive by boat.
· No children in offshore detention or in detention in Australia.