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Refugees and Asylum seekers

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$1 billion on detention centres could be better spent on dental care

The $1 billion Australian taxpayers are spending on private company Serco's detention centre contract would be better off going toward a public denticare scheme, the Australian Greens said today.

"Letting detainees live in the community after initial health and security checks while their protection claims are assessed is 90 percent cheaper and 100 percent fairer compared to a detention centre," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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Greens make progress on amending Migration Act to cut mandatory sentences

The Greens have today introduced into the Senate a bill to amend the Migration Act to restore judicial discretion to the courts in deciding sentences for convicted people smugglers.

"The Greens have tabled this bill because the government's much-hyped mantra of being tough on people smugglers is not working and is instead leading to injustice," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

"While people smuggling must be tackled, the government continues to punish only the little fish and never the kingpins that actually control the syndicates.

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Release children into community and end Immigration Minister’s conflict of interest

The Gillard government must make it a priority to move asylum seeker children and fragile families into the community, Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"In October 2010 Minister Bowen said the government would move most children and vulnerable families out of detention, because their incarceration was harming their mental health and development," Sen. Hanson-Young said.

"This must be hastened this year because we know this damage is preventable by letting people live in the community after initial health and security checks are done.

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Audio of Sarah and marriage equality advocates on referring Greens' bill to Senate inquiry

Audio from Sarah's door stop in Canberra on referring the Greens' marriage equality bill to a Senate inquiry. Also joined by Alex Greenwich from Australian Marriage Equality and Shelley Argent from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Other topics covered include childre in detention and sexism toward women politicians.

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Greens invite UNHCR chief to inspect a detention centre

The Australian Greens have invited UNHCR High Commissioner, Antonio Guterres, to visit a detention centre when he's in the country this month to see conditions for himself.

"I've written to the High Commissioner explaining it is crucial he see first-hand how Australia's mandatory detention practices cause physical and mental health damage to children and adults," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

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Mr Bowen should visit Leonora

Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, as the legal guardian of unaccompanied children, should pay a visit to the Leonora detention centre to meet 160 children and young people who have been denied the chance to attend school, the Australian Greens said today.

"The Greens are concerned by reports that 160 children are languishing in the remote centre, away from class rooms and other vital services they need to integrate into Australian life should they be granted refugee status," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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TPVs compound refugees’ trauma and should not be brought back

Temporary protection visas (TPVs) offer no practical or long-term solution and only serve to punish very vulnerable refugees simply because they weren't lucky enough to arrive here by plane, the Australian Greens said today.

"The most damaging and cruel aspect of TPVs is they contain the constant threat that a person who has been recognised as a genuine refugee and fled danger may be returned to the source of their fear," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.

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