July 18, 2012
THE Australian Greens have proposed an eight-point plan to stem the flow of asylum seeker boats.
The plan which they call a “third option” is contained in the party’s submission to the expert panel on asylum policy, led by former defence chief Angus Houston.
It includes increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake to 25,000 a year (up from 13,750), boosting funding for the UN refugee agency and increased engagement with Indonesia.
The party also calls for fresh multilateral discussions to establish a new “regional plan of action” modelled on a similar arrangement from the Malcolm Fraser years.
It recommends de-linking the onshore and offshore quotas for humanitarian visas and boosting humanitarian family reunion pathways.
The Greens also want a review of airline sanctions and visa impediments for people seeking asylum by air and the appointment of an ambassador for refugee protection.
“The people who are drowning at sea are fleeing persecution,” the submission reads.
“Our challenge is to have the courage to do the right thing by offering hope and sanctuary in Australia so refugees do not have to risk their lives for the chance of finding safety, certainty and livelihoods.”
It restates the Greens’ opposition to offshore processing in no uncertain terms.
Submissions to Mr Houston’s expert panel close on Thursday.
It is due to report back to the parliament – which is in an asylum policy deadlock – in the coming weeks.