Immigration System Needs More Compassionate Approach

It’s time for a commonsense and compassionate response to the failure of Australia’s immigration detention

The Australian Greens spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young

system, according to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Immigration, says yesterday’s passage of her motion in the Senate calling for an end to the suspension of asylum claims is a sign of the Greens’ continuing commitment to fair and just treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees.

“Australia’s system of immigration detention is failing on many fronts, and the Greens believe a more commonsense and compassionate approach is needed,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“That approach must start with the lifting of the Government’s ill-considered suspension of processing of asylum claims.

“Stopping vulnerable people from putting their case for protection and asylum based on the country they have fled from, is as unacceptable as treating people differently because they come here by boat instead of by plane.

“These acts of discrimination breach Australia’s international obligations, but more importantly they represent an abandonment of our fundamental Australian values of justice, a fair go, and protecting the vulnerable.”

The Greens opposed the suspension of claims from its introduction, in the knowledge that it would have no practical effect other than to increase the backlog of cases within the system and magnify the anxiety, frustration and depression within Australian detention facilities.

“In addition to the Government’s approach, it is disappointing to see that the Coalition seems incapable of passing up an opportunity to demonise asylum-seekers and advocate ever harsher methods of dealing with them,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“These are not people to be feared, they are not committing a crime – they are exercising a legitimate and well-established right to seek our protection.

“The Greens will continue to push for a more measured and compassionate approach that recognises the realities of people fleeing persecution, and does not result in the punishment of those we should be protecting.”

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