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Java boat tragedy requires a regional humanitarian response

The Australian Greens have rejected renewed pushes to expel asylum seekers to Malaysia or Nauru following the Java boat tragedy, and have advocated again for an increase in the humanitarian intake with a direct resettlement programme.

"We need a humanitarian response that deals with the realities of why people flee on leaky vessels and not get sidetracked by discussions of border protection or national security," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Greens express condolences, offer support over Java boat tragedy

The Australian Greens say their hearts go out to the families and friends of those asylum seekers who have drowned off the coast of Java, Indonesia.

"We give our full support to the Australian government and its efforts to assist Indonesian authorities find survivors and recover the missing," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"This is a humanitarian issue which today is about a humanitarian response, not one of border protection.

"This is an awful tragedy and all involved should be given the time to mourn."


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Statement from Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young on media’s visit to Inverbrackie

The Greens understand the reasons why journalists from The Advertiser and Channel Seven refused to be part of the visit to Inverbrackie today.

All journalists should be allowed to have access to detention centres and similar facilities without having to grant the Immigration Department's final approval of words, images and sounds.

It's vital that journalists be allowed to see and report freely, rather than what the department wants Australians to see.

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High Court ruling advances due process in granting family reunion rights for unaccompanied children

The Australian Greens have welcomed the High Court's decision today to let an Afghan teenager bring his family to Australia after authorities claimed his mother was no longer his immediately responsible for him.

"The court's ruling that the Immigration Department made a 'jurisdictional error' shows the department did not follow proper process," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"In cases dealing with unaccompanied minors and young people, the department's communication and processes must be improved.

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New ministers should press authorities to treat Indonesian children as minors

Australia's new attorney general and home affairs minister should press their respective departments to treat all Indonesian children as minors after the collapse of yet another prosecution, the Greens said today.

"The Commonwealth withdrew charges against another Indonesian who was crew on an asylum seeker boat after his lawyers confirmed his age," Greens' immigration and children spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today from Melbourne.

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Abbott’s decision on conscience vote betrays Liberals’ belief in individual choice

Tony Abbott's decision to rule out a conscience vote for Coalition members on marriage equality again demonstrates he's out of touch with what most Australians want, the Australian Greens said today.

"Numerous surveys show Australians want their MPs to have a conscience vote on same-sex marriages," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"Mr Abbott should stop swimming against the tide of public opinion and let his Coalition MPs have a free vote when the legislation is presented in parliament next year.

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Govt should stay course with community release of asylum seekers

Despite concerns from some quarters, the Gillard government is right to be moving more asylum seekers into the community when they have been assessed as safe to do so, the Australian Greens said today.

"It is cheaper and is decent of the federal government to be moving more fragile people into the community, rather than having them languishing indefinitely in detention centres," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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ACT and Australia want marriage equality, not merely civil unions

The ACT government's decision to reintroduce legislation on civil union laws is another positive development, but falls short of marriage equality reforms Australians want at the federal level, the Australian Greens said today.

"Real reform will be made when the federal parliament passes marriage equality legislation, which will send a signal that same-sex couples are not considered under federal law as second-class citizens," Greens' marriage equality spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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