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Hanson-Young among thousands rallying for fairer go for refugees

Australians will attend rallies across the country today and tomorrow for World Refugee Day (officially June 20) in support of a fairer go for refugees.

"The Australian Greens are working to put time limits on detention into legislation, because we know the current system is causing easily preventable mental and physical damage to already fragile people," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"We've legislation before parliament which sets time limits - as recommended by the recent parliamentary inquiry into immigration detention - and moves asylum seekers into the community once health and security checks show it is safe to do so.

"We are also calling for an independent advocate for unaccompanied children, because the Immigration Minister has a conflict of interest. He is currently their legal guardian who is both responsible for their welfare but also decides for how long they will be detained.

"The Greens are the only political party whose policies include shutting down remote detention centres and changing the law so no children are kept in detention centres, as is happening now.

"We're also standing up for refugees like pregnant young mother Ranjini and her two young boys who are in Villawood indefinitely. They are among the 57 refugees Australian authorities have locked up potentially forever and won't say why ASIO has made adverse security assessments against them.

"On Monday the High Court will begin hearing from lawyers who are seeking to curtail ASIO's powers to issue unchallengeable adverse security assessments. On Monday I will inform the Senate of my bill to amend the ASIO Act, because regardless of the outcome of the court challenge, the law needs to be changed.

"Among the things my bill will do is restore basic procedural fairness by ensuring refugees and their lawyers can access ASIO's statements of reasons for the security assessment and also offers them a merits review. This brings them into line with what applies to Australian citizens."

The Greens' bill includes the recommendations in the recent parliamentary inquiry into the immigration detention network which argued the ASIO Act needs amending.

Rallies will be held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth today and Melbourne tomorrow. Sen. Hanson-Young will address both the Adelaide and Melbourne rallies and also Sydney on June 24.

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