22 Jun 2005

Australian senate backs Greens motion on Nauru asylum seekers

3:48 pm on 22 June 2005

The Greens party in Australia has introduced a motion in the senate for a final group of asylum seekers to be brought to Australia to allow them access to the judicial system.

There is little expectation that this will make it into law as the government will hold the balance of power in the senate from July.

But, Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, says it will at least put some pressure on the government.

He says he introduced the motion after the Immigration minister, Amanda Vanstone, was given new discretionary powers to release families from detention centres in Australia and allow long-term detainees to live in the community.

Mr Brown says this does not extend to asylum seekers on Nauru.

"It doesn't refer to the asylum seekers on Nauru who are seen as being extra-territorial, and without any legal rights. The remaining asylum seekers on Nauru, and there are a number of children there still and families, have no reach into the Australian judicial system, and they are totally at the mercy of the minister as it stands."

Mr Brown says he is also opposed to the Immigration minister's new discretionary powers because there is no independent review and no appeal once decisions are made.