The Houston Report has taken up the worst of Coalition policies by proposing unlimited offshore processing on Nauru and Manus Island, excising the mainland of Australia from the Migration Zone and punishing people from coming to Australia for refuge.
"The Houston Panel has disappointed many of those across Australia who were hoping for a humanitarian response to refugees, instead backing a return to the brutal policies of the Howard government now echoed by Tony Abbott", Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said today.
"I believe Australians want to see refugees treated with care and compassion, and I welcome the Houston panel's support for Greens' proposals to lift the humanitarian quota along with resettling thousands more refugees from Malaysia and Indonesia, investing in capacity building in our region, and codifying our obligations to protect safety of life at sea.
"But the bitter pill at the core of the package is the quick political fix of sending refugees anywhere but here to suffer somewhere where we can't see them.
"Deterrence and punishment are masked as a regional response. The Panel heard clearly from experts that dumping people in Malaysia is simply unacceptable and unsafe, accepting the Greens' concerns on Malaysia are justified. However, the Panel has subsequently ignored legal experts' warnings that other punitive offshore processing breaches international law.
"Leaving refugees to rot on Nauru did not save lives under the Howard government and will not do so now", Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Immigration said today.
"It's no surprise that Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison are cheering when the Panel has ignored the bulk of expert submissions and recommended Howard-esque policies to punish refugees which did not, and will not, save lives",
"These are the world's most disadvantaged people but the Panel has recommended pushing them away to a horrible limbo with no time limits and no legal protections. Rather than treating people on their need for protection in line with our legal obligations, the Panel is proposing a harmful return to policies that split families and force more people onto boats.
"There are no legal protections, no sincere care for people's human rights and no timelines on detention. This is simply expanding detentions centres across the Pacific - as Patrick McGorry says, more factories for mental illness across our region.
"This is not a plan to protect people but a sleight of hand for politicians on the back of the most vulnerable children in our region.
"Amongst the cruelty there are a number of recommendations that do not require a change of law and are immediately available without offshore processing in Nauru, Manus or Malaysia."