23 Mar 2006

Australian Greens Senator says Papuan asylum seekers should have got permanent visas

8:53 pm on 23 March 2006

Opponents of the detention of 43 Papuans seeking asylum in Australia have welcomed Canberra's decision to grant them protection, but have queried its temporary nature.

All but one of the group, which arrived in the far north of Queensland in January, claiming they faced persecution in the Indonesian province, have been awarded temporary protection visas.

The group are to be moved to Melbourne after being housed on remote Christmas Island for two months.

A staunch opponent of their detention, the Greens Senator, Kerry Nettle, says the group should have got permanent rather than temporary visas.

"Because now what will occur is that this group of people will move into the Australian community and live in Australia while they wait for their claims to be re-assessed in somewhere between three and six years. So that is what we had been asking for from the outset that people lived in the community while their claims were assessed and that's all that the decision does."