The Greens are pleased that the Prime Minister has this evening announced a Multi-Party Committee with experts to work towards saving lives of people seeking asylum, as proposed by the Greens.
It is disappointing, however, that the Greens' constructive proposal to take immediate action to save lives by taking the pressure off those people seeking asylum in Indonesia and Malaysia and increase search and rescue capability in the region, has been voted down by both the government and opposition in the Senate.
The Greens' decisions today have been strongly welcomed by refugee advocates including Amnesty International, the Refugee Council of Australia, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, ChilOut, Catholic Religious Australia, the Josephite Nuns, GetUp!, Greg Barns and the Australian Lawyers Alliance, and more.
Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said: "I met with the Prime Minister earlier and her announcement this evening of a Multi-Party Committee with experts, as we proposed days ago, is a positive step towards creating safer pathways for people seeking asylum. But I am disappointed that both the Government and the Opposition voted down our move to take immediate action to start saving lives."
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said: "The government could, today, have taken the pressure off these desperate people to get on boats by immediately resettling thousands of people waiting in Indonesia and Malaysia, properly resourcing the UNHCR and increasing search and rescue capability.
"There is nothing in Mr Oakeshott's bill that would have saved lives - in fact it would have made the situation worse by sending these desperate people out of sight and out of mind. The only way to save lives is to take the pressure off these poor, desperate people waiting in a so-called queue that is 76 years long."