2 Dec 2012

Asylum seeker policy should be abandoned - Greens

1:10 pm on 2 December 2012

The Australian Greens says the federal government should abandon the policy of deterring asylum seekers.

Senator Christine Milne said the policy has led to people drowning at sea and should be abandoned.

AAP reports the Greens leader said the government and the coalition have decided to work together on a deterrence strategy that will not work.

"It was a failure from the minute that they opened their mouths in Canberra and .... we have had a record number of people risking their lives at sea," she told ABC Television on Sunday.

Following a report by an expert panel on asylum seekers headed by former defence chief Angus Houston, the federal government resumed offshore processing and adopted a "no advantage" test for those arriving by boat.

Senator Milne said the recommendation for a return to offshore processing was completely inconsistent with Australia's international obligations.

"Deterrence never works," she said. ''We actually have to go get people out of Indonesia and give them a safe passage to Australia in the context of our international obligations."