The Greens today proposed that the Government convene a Multi-Party Committee, including the leadership of all parties as well as independent expert voices, in the mould of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, as a mechanism to find a positive, long-term, legal and humanitarian resolution to helping asylum seekers.
"The Australian community is crying out for leadership from politicians to help the desperate people who try to come to our shores seeking asylum," said Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne.
"I believe, from long experience, that, if the government, opposition and independents embraced this proposal for a Multi-Party Committee, grounded in a commitment to reach a long-term, humanitarian and legal resolution which would offer leadership in our region, it would restore hope in the heart of many Australians and confidence in our parliamentary system.
"The MPCCC was set up within a clear context - to deliver a genuine response to climate change. So as to ensure it wasn't a talk-fest and a waste of time, to participate in it you needed to demonstrate a genuine commitment to addressing climate and putting a price on pollution.
"Just like the MPCCC, this committee must be grounded in a clear context. The Greens' proposal is that that context must be abiding by our obligations under human rights law and Refugee Convention. This is critical not only for it to be credible internationally but also to ensure that the outcome is long-lasting - if it is not legal, it will not survive court challenges."
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Immigration, said government policies toward people seeking Australia's protection must abide by domestic and international laws
"This multi-party committee would include experts in international and humanitarian law - people who understand the reality faced by desperate people seeking asylum around the world - as well as relevant members of parliament and public servants," Senator Hanson-Young, said.
"We need to work together domestically and work with our neighbours for a regional answer to a regional humanitarian challenge.
"The Greens will not abandon Australia's commitments to the Refugee Convention. We're offering to cooperate with the government and opposition to establish this committee, but will not waiver in reminding Australia that immigration policy must be legal and treat people according to our obligations under the Refugee Convention."