Only by giving people safer pathways to a secure life will we reduce the incentive for people to take perilous journeys.
There are thousands of people languishing in camps in Indonesia who wish to seek asylum, but in the ten months to April this year Australia only granted 97 refugee visas out of Indonesia.
That is why the Australian Greens have proposed four immediate actions that could be taken by the Prime Minister today to prevent more drownings at sea:
1. Increase Australia’s humanitarian intake from 13,750 to 20,000, including additional places to be immediately allocated to targeted resettlement of 1,000 people from Indonesia and 4,000 people from Malaysia;
2. Immediately increase funding to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees by $10 million to boost the capacity of Refugee Status Determination assessments in Malaysia and Indonesia;
3. Enter urgent discussions between Australia and Indonesia to address the critical need for cooperation and effectiveness of intelligence sharing and resourcing between Australia and Indonesia in order to save lives at sea;
4. Codify Australia's Safety of Life at Sea Convention 1974 obligations across all relevant government agencies and increase Australia's rescue capacity in Australia's northern waters.
We recognise the importance of compromise in achieving a workable long-term solution to protecting the lives of asylum seekers. That is why the Greens want to sit down with the Government and the Opposition to develop a real and effective regional solution, which is underpinned by the Refugee Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the related 1967 Protocol.
Labor and the Coalition’s proposal to expel asylum seekers who come by boat will not save lives. Under John Howard’s Pacific Solution, which expelled asylum seekers to Nauru, boats continued to come and people continued to drown.
Only by creating safer pathways for refugees will we be able to stop the boats and stop the drownings.