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Here's how to create long-term, safer pathways to Australia for asylum seekers

The sight of the two big parties exchanging and releasing letters on Tuesday was a performance that gave little hope for a sensible, humane or long-term response to the complex humanitarian issue of asylum seekers.

Australia receives around 2% of asylum applications to industrialised nations - over six months we receive equivalent numbers of unauthorised arrivals that Italy receives in one weekend. Yet political consideration of asylum policy is so warped our leaders were reduced to bickering like note-passing schoolchildren.

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Australia should take the Java survivors found to be genuine refugees by the UNHCR

The Australian government should commit to resettling the survivors of the Java boat tragedy once they have found by the UNHCR to be refugees in genuine need of protection, the Greens said today.

"The UNHCR has said they are ready to help in assessing the protection claims of survivors and try finding a safe country for those found to be refugees," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"Australia should do what we can to assist them.

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Java boat tragedy requires a regional humanitarian response

The Australian Greens have rejected renewed pushes to expel asylum seekers to Malaysia or Nauru following the Java boat tragedy, and have advocated again for an increase in the humanitarian intake with a direct resettlement programme.

"We need a humanitarian response that deals with the realities of why people flee on leaky vessels and not get sidetracked by discussions of border protection or national security," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Govt should stay course with community release of asylum seekers

Despite concerns from some quarters, the Gillard government is right to be moving more asylum seekers into the community when they have been assessed as safe to do so, the Australian Greens said today.

"It is cheaper and is decent of the federal government to be moving more fragile people into the community, rather than having them languishing indefinitely in detention centres," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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First Indigenous Federal Magistrate to be first of many?

Greens spokesperson for Legal Affairs, Senator Penny Wright, has congratulated Matthew Myers on his appointment as the first Indigenous judicial officer to a Federal Court and hopes this will mark the beginning of many more such appointments in the future.

“The Court will benefit from Mr Myers’ experience and knowledge - especially his extensive background in family law - as well as the unique cultural perspective he will bring to the bench,” Senator Wright said.

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SBS Motion

Senator LUDLAM: To move:
That the Senate-

Notes that
1. In Australia there are twice as many people speaking languages other than English and that Australia is more culturally and racially diverse than 30 years ago, at the time of the formation of the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)
2. research demonstrates that tensions and fault lines exist in Australia, with particular sensitivity around refugee intake.

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Let kids be kids

Greens’ spokesperson for multiculturalism, Senator Richard Di Natale, has disagreed with Minister Plibersek’s call for all children to take a citizen’s pledge.

“Let kids be kids,” said Senator Di Natale.

“You can’t force patriotism onto the community by making children rote learn a pledge.”

“Leadership that reflects the values of the community is the best way to inspire patriotism and pride.”

“Socially inclusive patriotism in a multicultural society requires more than just a pledge.”

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