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.
"These visas were a significant factor behind the anguish of many refugees because it forbade them from being reunited with their families.
"Minister Bowen should rule out the use of the TPVs, which he labelled as "unjust" on World Refugees Day in 2008.
"The ALP 2007 national conference agreed not to bring back the visas because they made worse the mental health of genuine refugees and made it harder for them to find a job and rebuild their lives.
"TPVs did not deter people from boarding boats under the Howard government, nor did they stop people from harming themselves or rioting in detention centres.
"Australia should be humane in its response to why people are taking to boats to flee persecution in their home countries. TPVs seek to typically punish victims, as if it's their fault that they are trying to save themselves from persecution and torture.
"We need a humane, practical and long-term response to this humanitarian issue which means working with our neighbours to create a regional protection framework, not striking one-off people swap deals."