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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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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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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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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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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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