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Govt should heed Wentworth Group on Murray Darling draft plan

 

The Gillard government should heed the advice of the Wentworth Group's report into the Murray Darling Basin Authority's draft plan and commit to having the flawed science corrected. The government must ensure the parliament is given a legal and credible plan that will deliver a healthy, working river and is environmentally sound, the Australian Greens said today.

 

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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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Gillard government must heed advice and fix people smuggling laws

The Attorney General should urgently revise Australia's mandatory sentencing for people smuggling convictions which fails to punish the real culprits after a Brisbane court today jailed an impoverished Indonesian fisherman for five years, the Australian Greens said.

"Judge Martin said the mandatory sentence did not let the court consider the facts in the case, including that the illiterate Indonesian was exploited by the organisers of people smuggling syndicates," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Schools response shows why alternatives to chaplains are justified

Figures released today show around 200 schools across the country have chosen to hire people other than chaplains since the federal government gave them the choice in September 2011, the Australian Greens said.

"We applaud the fact that Australian schools are exercising their right to choose whether or not they want a chaplain or someone from a secular background," Greens' youth affairs spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Coalition’s comments on ‘deodorant for migrants’ unhelpful and destructive

The remarks by Teresa Gambaro that migrants, including those on temporary visas, need compulsory training about hygiene are unhelpful, the Australian Greens said today.

"By all means, inform migrants about how they can access services in Australia or how our legal system works," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"But focusing on body odour is blatant dog whistling from the Coalition.

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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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Here's how to create long-term, safer pathways to Australia for asylum seekers

The sight of the two big parties exchanging and releasing letters on Tuesday was a performance that gave little hope for a sensible, humane or long-term response to the complex humanitarian issue of asylum seekers.

Australia receives around 2% of asylum applications to industrialised nations - over six months we receive equivalent numbers of unauthorised arrivals that Italy receives in one weekend. Yet political consideration of asylum policy is so warped our leaders were reduced to bickering like note-passing schoolchildren.

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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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Australia should take the Java survivors found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR

The Australian government should commit to resettling the survivors of the Java boat tragedy once they have found by the UNHCR to be refugees in genuine need of protection, the Greens said today.

"The UNHCR has said they are ready to help in assessing the protection claims of survivors and try finding a safe country for those found to be refugees," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"Australia should do what we can to assist them.

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