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Release children into community and end Immigration Minister’s conflict of interest

The Gillard government must make it a priority to move asylum seeker children and fragile families into the community, Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"In October 2010 Minister Bowen said the government would move most children and vulnerable families out of detention, because their incarceration was harming their mental health and development," Sen. Hanson-Young said.

"This must be hastened this year because we know this damage is preventable by letting people live in the community after initial health and security checks are done.

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Audio of Sarah and marriage equality advocates on referring Greens' bill to Senate inquiry

Audio from Sarah's door stop in Canberra on referring the Greens' marriage equality bill to a Senate inquiry. Also joined by Alex Greenwich from Australian Marriage Equality and Shelley Argent from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Other topics covered include childre in detention and sexism toward women politicians.

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Greens invite UNHCR chief to inspect a detention centre

The Australian Greens have invited UNHCR High Commissioner, Antonio Guterres, to visit a detention centre when he's in the country this month to see conditions for himself.

"I've written to the High Commissioner explaining it is crucial he see first-hand how Australia's mandatory detention practices cause physical and mental health damage to children and adults," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Mr Bowen should visit Leonora

Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, as the legal guardian of unaccompanied children, should pay a visit to the Leonora detention centre to meet 160 children and young people who have been denied the chance to attend school, the Australian Greens said today.

"The Greens are concerned by reports that 160 children are languishing in the remote centre, away from class rooms and other vital services they need to integrate into Australian life should they be granted refugee status," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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TPVs compound refugees’ trauma and should not be brought back

Temporary protection visas (TPVs) offer no practical or long-term solution and only serve to punish very vulnerable refugees simply because they weren't lucky enough to arrive here by plane, the Australian Greens said today.

"The most damaging and cruel aspect of TPVs is they contain the constant threat that a person who has been recognised as a genuine refugee and fled danger may be returned to the source of their fear," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Greens move to refer marriage equality bill to a senate inquiry

The Greens have today announced they will refer their marriage equality bill to a senate inquiry to increase the chances of it passing so that same-sex couples can have full legal recognition of their public declaration of love.

"Our Marriage (Equality) Amendment Bill 2010 has been on the table in parliament for more than a year and I believe having it passed is achievable if done right," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

She made the announcement in Canberra along with Alex Greenwich, National Convenor of Australian Marriage Equality.

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Greens back call for judicial inquiry into mandatory sentencing of boat crews

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.

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Stop treating detainees with carrots and sticks

The Greens are very concerned by revelations in today's Fairfax papers that Serco is using a behaviour management plan for detainees whom the company considers are misbehaving, immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young said.

She said it is also alarming that the Immigration Department denies the document exists.

"I have asked direct questions about these methods in the immigration detention network inquiry and both the department and Serco have denied they are about punishing people," Sen. Hanson-Young said.

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Reopening Nauru won’t stop asylum seekers fleeing for their lives

The government's disappointing decision to try reopening the Nauru detention centres won't deter people who are determined to keep running until they feel safe, the Australian Greens said today.

"This is a very sad moment for people who wanted their government to stand firm and treat asylum seekers humanely and offer them durable options for safety," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"The government says it's trying to deter people from boarding boats, but it's not giving them any other option.

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Reviving TPVs - typically punishing victims

The Gillard government should resist the calls by the Coalition to reinstate the hurtful temporary protection visas which damaged many families during the Howard years, the Greens said today.

"TPVs were a major reason why the numbers of women and children on boats spiked during the Howard years, including on the SIEV X which claimed 353 lives after the government began using Nauru," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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