Greens table Evacuation to Safety legislation

Australian Greens

The Greens have today introduced legislation in the Senate to compel the government to offer immediate evacuation to Australia to all remaining refugees and people seeking asylum still stranded offshore in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

“After ten long years of offshore detention it is abhorrent that about 150 people remain exiled in PNG and Nauru,” Greens Immigration spokesperson Senator Nick McKim said.

“The Bill has been designed specifically to fit within Labor’s policy settings, and avoid the toxic refugee politics of the past two decades.”

“But most importantly, it offers a way forward for people seeking asylum who have suffered so much for so long.”

“When in Opposition, Labor was happy to support the Medevac amendment moved by the Greens. This Bill gives them the chance to work in the same spirit of cooperation to finish that task.”

“It was the ALP which sent every one of these people to Manus Island and Nauru in 2013, which means that Labor has a moral responsibility to end their exile.”

“Offshore detention has been a humanitarian calamity, and one of the darkest and bloodiest chapters in our country’s story. It is time we wrote the ending, and this Bill will help us to do that.

“The legislation does not require the government to settle people permanently in Australia, but to offer to support them in Australia until a durable third-country solution is secured.”

“This Bill represents a compassionate and practical solution to the ongoing crisis of offshore detention.”

“It provides a necessary step towards a durable solution for people who have been without one for nearly a decade. It will offer people a chance at safety in Australia with the support and medical attention they need while awaiting resettlement in a safe third country.”

“This is a critical step in ensuring that people who sought asylum in Australia and were treated so abhorrently finally get the dignity and respect they deserve, and the chance to rebuild their lives in safety and freedom.”

The legislation would require the Minister to:

  • make an immediate offer of evacuation to all refugees and people seeking asylum still in PNG and Nauru (around 150 people), unless they have had an adverse security assessment made against them by ASIO;
  • place all refugees and people seeking asylum who accept the offer in the Australian community, and not into held detention;
  • make available to all people evacuated to Australia with any medical assessments and treatments they need;
  • allow for all people evacuated to Australia under this legislation to remain in Australia until they are provided with a durable solution to their displacement with a third-country that is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or 1967 Refugee Protocol.

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