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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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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 move to lop mandatory sentencing from Migration Act

The Greens will next month table a bill in parliament to remove mandatory sentencing provisions from the Migration Act and restore judicial discretion to the courts in deciding sentences for convicted people smugglers.

"Nearly two years ago, the Greens and the legal community warned mandatory sentences would not punish the people smuggling kingpins, only the pawns," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, 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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