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Let's listen to the experts on asylum-seekers

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Let's Listen To The Experts On Asylum-Seekers Published on Sarah Hanson-Young (

Let's Listen To The Experts On Asylum-Seekers

It's time to let the experts tell us how a new, safer, better approach to asylum-seekers should look, according to Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Immigration, says we need a circuit-breaker for the debate on Australia's treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees.

"Following this week's tragic events, it is even more important than ever that we work to achieve a humane, long-term and practical solution to this issue,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"The Government can act now to help stop the debate getting uglier by enlisting the support and advice of experts to draft a blueprint for a policy overhaul, rather than allowing the policy to be determined simply by politics and point-scoring.

"Rather than being obsessed with being "tough" on asylum seekers and punishing people for being vulnerable, we must find a better way to protect them - in their home countries and in the countries they flee to in our region and then protect them here if they arrive on our doorstep.

"We must embrace a policy that has people at the centre and is underscored by our Australian values of compassion, looking out for our mates and a fair go.

"As Australians discuss in their workplaces and around the dinner table the awful events of last week at Christmas Island many are asking "surely there's a better way to help protect these people".

"Experts in the field are saying there is a better way, it's time we listened to them.

"The Greens are calling for the establishment of an expert advisory panel that includes including mental health professionals, legal professionals, migration experts, and human rights experts.

"Getting the experts around a table to find the best way forward makes sense."

The Greens are also concerned about the impact of the shipwreck of the SIEV 221 on those who witnessed it, and particularly on those who survived it.

"While it is important that proper checks are conducted, it is vital that all survivors - including three orphaned children - are brought straight to the mainland for the help and support they need,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"The Government should also accept the need for an independent judicial inquiry to find out what really happened and whether this tragedy could have been avoided . While the inquiry is happening, the expert panel can work to help shape a new approach to asylum-seekers that moves beyond the limits of the present debate.

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