The Australian Greens will not support this attempt by the Government to circumvent Australia's obligations under the Refugee Convention and the landmark High Court ruling.
"The announcement made today by the Prime Minister, and Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, is a breach of our responsibilities under the Refugee Convention, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and is the wrong solution for Australia," Greens' Immigration Spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today.
"This move comes as another poll is released on asylum seekers, showing that the majority of Australians (54%) support onshore processing, with only 25% in favour of the major parties offshore processing solution.
"It is a sad day, when the Australian Labor Party has announced a policy, reminiscent of John Howard's Pacific Solution quick fix that was introduced into Parliament 10 years ago this week. The Prime Minister's proposed amendments to the law will give even less human rights protections to vulnerable people than the legislation introduced by the Howard Government in 2001.
"What we need is a commonsense, cost-effective and humane Australian solution that allows us to get on with the job that we signed up to do. That is, processing the claims of vulnerable asylum seekers who come to this country seeking our protection."
The Greens also remain concerned by the Government's response to the Minister for Immigration's role as the guardian of unaccompanied minors.
"What the Greens and the majority of Australians want to know is, who will look after these children and ensure their rights and welfare are protected," Sen Hanson-Young said. "The Government made it clear today, that it won't be them."