The Greens today called on the government to compromise on their obsession with deterrence and punishment of refugees and opt instead to save lives by offering safer pathways to protection.
"The government and opposition are only interested in a political solution, not in doing the right thing for vulnerable refugees" said Greens' immigration and citizenship spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
"Their obsession with deterring and punishing those who arrive by boat only panders to the view that asylum seekers have no right to seek refuge here. What we need is the political will to listen to the experts and adopt safe, humane and legal ways to save refugees before they are forced by desperation onto dangerous boats.
"It's time the government and opposition stopped playing politics with the lives of refugees.
"When the Expert Panel reports back next week we hope to see proposals that don't push away and punish refugees under the false myth that deterrents work, when we know they don't.
"Australian experts such as Malcolm Fraser, legal academics, and the human rights, social services and refugee sectors have given very clear submissions to the Expert Panel showing that punishing refugees by sending them offshore won't work.
"It is sad to see the Government, Opposition and Rob Oakeshott still talking about turning people back to Malaysia and Nauru, which shows that they haven't heard what the experts are saying.
"The way to save lives is not through punishing refugees.
"The Greens have proposed eight immediate action points and a New Regional Plan of Action to provide safer pathways for people seeking asylum in Australia.
"Immediate steps would be to raise our humanitarian intake to 25000, directly resettle 1000 refugees from Indonesia and 4000 from Malaysia, and boost the capacity of asylum application assessments in Indonesia. This will give refugees the hope that they don't need to board a boat.
"Experts have repeatedly told us that a regional proposal will work because it's what Australia and other nations did after the war in Vietnam.
The Greens today have released a new video featuring Afghan refugee Najeeba Wazefadost, who came on the Tampa as a child and was detained on Nauru, which calls for safer alternatives to boats and shows that deterrence and punishment will not stop desperate people fleeing danger.
BROADCAST QUALITY link to video is availiable here.
The Greens' video shows the first-hand perspective of refugees, who flee because no punishment by the Australian Government can match the horror asylum seekers flee from.
"Najeeba and her family came to Australia by boat after their lives were threatened by the Taliban. They felt they had no other option but to risk the dangerous journey" said Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
"By increasing the number of refugees Australia accepts and working with the United Nations and our neighbouring countries, we can prevent refugees from feeling so desperate they risk boarding a boat".