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Greens call for interim progress report from the government’s Houston Panel

The latest tragic loss of life at sea, together with the record breaking numbers of boat arrivals, point to a fundamental failure of the government’s offshore detention and ‘no advantage’ policies.

“The policy has failed to stop the boats and has sadly failed to stop boat tragedies,” said the Greens’ immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young today.

“To date the government has only introduced the harsh, punitive measures of the Houston Report and they have fundamentally failed to deter desperate people from seeking safety. More people are arriving now than before offshore detention was established.  

“We need a full account from the Houston Panel to the Parliament and the nation as to the current outcomes of the recommendations.

“On any measure the current policy is not working and the blame game between the government and the opposition, who both agreed on these laws back in August, will do nothing but demonise and further harm refugees.

“The Houston Report did not recommend the government’s Malaysia Solution, contrary to what the Prime Minister says. The Houston report said, in fact, that it wasn’t safe for refugees.  

“For better or for worse the government has chosen this Houston Panel path, it isn’t working and now we need to see a comprehensive progress report that outlines what has failed and why.  Simply blaming each other as the government and opposition have done this week won’t make anyone safer and doesn’t provide a better way forward.

“We have a responsibility to uphold our commitment to protecting those refugees who arrive on our shores, not expose them to more harm here or elsewhere. 

“To date I see little evidence we have helped keep anyone safer, in fact we are doing more harm than good through the indefinite detention of children and the forcing of more families on to boats because of the restrictions on family reunion.”


Media Contact: Noah Schultz-Byard 0427 604 760

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