The Australian Greens have expressed their condolences after at least seven asylum seekers drowned off the Indonesian island of Java earlier today.
"This is very sad and distressing news and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who've died and the survivors," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.
"Australia needs to be doing more to create safer pathways for asylum seekers in our region to reduce the need for them to board boats and try reaching Australia for our protection.
"This must include taking more people directly from Indonesia and Malaysia before they set out in unseaworthy vessels."
Separately, the Greens have criticised the Gillard government's attempt to fast-track people smuggling laws into the parliament tonight.
"This legislation serves only to severely punish poor and illiterate Indonesian fishermen and boys who crew these boats," Sen. Hanson-Young added.
"It does nothing to target the actual people smugglers operating in Indonesia and elsewhere.
"It's just a smoke-screen to stop current legal challenges to the ongoing detention of dozens of Indonesian children and minors who are in custody in Australia.
"The Greens want the people smuggling legislation to be properly scrutinised by an inquiry, as is the normal process."