The Greens support the call from former NSW attorney-general, John Dowd, for a judicial inquiry into the mandatory sentences imposed on asylum seeker boat crew who are convicted of people smuggling.
"We're pleased Mr Dowd has joined an expanding number of voices who find it unacceptable that Australia's courts must give five year sentences to impoverished Indonesians," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.
"The federal government knows where the faults are in the Migration Act and should urgently fix them.
"Judges from around the country are frustrated their courts have no ability to consider mitigating circumstances, such as the fact many fishermen and boys are tricked into taking asylum seekers to Australia.
"The Greens back efforts to target people smuggling syndicates, but the laws as they stand are only catching the small fry, never the big fish who do not crew asylum seeker boats.
"The Greens urge the Gillard government establish a judicial inquiry into the five-year mandatory sentences, because the current laws are damaging Australia's rule of law and our international reputation. They also set back the livelihoods of poor, Indonesian fisher families who are left without their main earners for years."