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First, do no harm: Greens move to establish Expert Health Care Panel for refugees in offshore detention

The Australian Greens today announced that they will introduce a bill in the Senate to establish an independent panel of expert physicians to oversee the health and mental health of asylum seekers and refugees in indefinite offshore detention.

"The Expert Health Care Panel proposed by the Greens will add some humanity to an otherwise inhumane policy" said Greens' immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

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Ominous signs already for Government's indefinite offshore dumping deals: Greens

The Australian Greens today called on the Government to clarify the terms agreed with PNG on the duration of offshore detention of refugees and confirm whether multinational engineering company Transfield Services is contracted to operate the offshore facilities.

"The Prime Minister must clarify how long vulnerable refugees will be dumped offshore - indefinitely is not an option' said Greens' immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today.

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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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Greens call on government to fix legal black hole for impoverished Indonesians

The Australian Greens are the only political party trying to change unjust laws which are keeping Indonesian children and adults stuck in prison without charge for longer than people accused of serious offences.

"While the old parties squabble about leadership challenges, the Greens are drafting bills and having them referred to inquiries to address the legal and procedural black holes," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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UNHCR chief’s remarks a chance for calmer debate on asylum seekers

The UNHCR chief, Antonio Guterres, has last night highlighted the relatively small number of asylum seekers seeking Australia's protection compared to countries including Italy, the Australian Greens said.

"Last year 58,000 people arrived in Italy and Malta and 100,000 reached Yemen, compared to around 6,000 in Australia," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"Despite what some may want to believe, we do not have a national security problem, we have a humanitarian one and we need to keep things in perspective.

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$1 billion on detention centres could be better spent on dental care

The $1 billion Australian taxpayers are spending on private company Serco's detention centre contract would be better off going toward a public denticare scheme, the Australian Greens said today.

"Letting detainees live in the community after initial health and security checks while their protection claims are assessed is 90 percent cheaper and 100 percent fairer compared to a detention centre," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Public to get a say as Greens’ marriage equality bill heads to senate inquiry

The Greens' marriage equality bill has today been referred to a Senate inquiry, giving all Australians the chance to have their say on removing discrimination from the Marriage Act.

"This is a great moment for everyone who wants to see same-sex Australian couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"The Greens thank the MPs from both sides of parliament who have agreed an inquiry is needed help those undecided MPs learn first-hand why the law needs changing.

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