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Australia should open door for climate refugees.

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Bob Brown

Australian Senate Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania

media release

12 November 2008

Australia should open door for climate refugees

Australia should recognise climate change refugees as a legitimate category of humanitarian refugee, according to Australian Greens Leader Senator Brown.

"Without changing the number of refugees accepted into Australia, a simple broadening of the definition of humanitarian refugee, can hold the door open for refugees from low-lying countries affected by rising sea-levels."

"As a leading global climate polluter, Australia should recognise that the future is uncertain for many millions of people in the world's coastal areas - and that we are ready to play our part."

"Only yesterday the President-elect of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed said his country would begin buying land in Australia and other countries as an insurance policy against global warming."

"Most of the land mass of the Maldives stand little more than a metre above sea level - a story repeated in Australia's region in the form of Kirabati, Tuvalu and the Cartaret Islands off Papua New Guinea."

Senator Brown said unless all countries participated in cutting carbon emissions, climate refugees would become an increasing reality.

"Australia's hand should be out and open to climate refugees as sea-level rises, deserts spread, and a host of other climate changes make more parts of the world uninhabitable."

Further information: Russell Kelly 0438 376 082.