Australians Greens Leader Christine Milne says the Abbott government must immediately confirm or deny claims that asylum seekers are being told they must return home or face indefinite detention.
"Under international law it is illegal for a country to send a refugee back to the country they escaped from. It is illegal and cruel," Senator Milne said.
"It is a shameful and cruel government that gives desperate asylum seekers a Sophie's choice between indefinite detention and return to the violence they have fled.
"If these threats prove correct, for anyone to suggest that the asylum seekers are not being made to go back, but that they are choosing to go, is a lie given the cruelty of the alternative.
"It is cruelty in the extreme to give desperate people the choice between the threat of physical torture by being returned to their home country or mental torture in an island prison with no hope of release.
"Tony Abbott is snubbing his nose at international law and common decency.
"At today's immigration briefing Minister Scott Morrison must confirm or deny these reports, explain how long women are being kept away from their families when taken to Darwin to have their babies, and reveal the new assessment process."