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Australia should disengage from Afghanistan war

Greens Leader Bob Brown today urged Prime Minister Julia Gillard to make good on her promise to have an annual debate on Australia's military commitment to the war in Afghanistan and, amid an increasingly ugly debate on asylum seekers, urged all sides to respect the right of people fleeing that war to seek asylum in this country.

"Australian soldiers should be brought home, without delay. As Professor Hugh White said this morning, the government should consider that we might lose as many as another 40 Australians there over the next three years, Senator Brown said.

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Australia's shame

Today's decision marks a new day of shame in Australia's history of mistreatment of asylum seekers, Greens Leader Bob Brown said.

"Offshore processing was the wrong answer under John Howard and it is wrong answer now," Senator Brown told reporters in Canberra.

"Treating asylum seekers humanely by processing their claims in Australia is the best answer.

"It is the humane solution; it is the cost effective solution; it is the international legal solution and it is the popular solution - with 54% backing according to today's opinion poll.

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Gillard, Abbott edge towards unholy alliance to scuttle global law

The Gillard Government and Abbott Opposition are edging towards an unholy alliance aimed at agreeing on legislation for offshore processing of refugees in breach of international law, Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

"The High Court's decision was based on the global refugee convention but now there's an emerging big party consensus to circumvent it. The Greens will not," Senator Brown said in Hobart.

"Our policy for onshore processing is legal, humane and saves billions of dollars - and it is backed by public opinion," Senator Brown said.

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