Greens Leader Richard Di Natale says it's time for Australia to step up and help huge numbers of people fleeing persecution in our region.
"These people are in desperate need of help. They are refugees and they deserve a home in Australia," said Senator Di Natale.
"Instead of turning our backs and turning back the boats, we should welcome these people with open arms.
"They will make an enormous contribution to our nation, as have generations of refugees and other migrants before them.
"Australia can show leadership and compassion, just as it did after the Tiananmen Square massacre and the Vietnam war by authorising special intake of refugees fleeing war and persecution.
"The Abbott government must realise by now that pushing asylum seekers out of sight has not pushed them out of the minds of millions of Australians who care about their fate.
"We're talking about thousands of people who have been caught up in a humanitarian disaster. We'd come to their aid if it was an earthquake or a flood. How can we abandon them now?
"We are a more caring nation than our successive immigration ministers would have the world believe. The government should help us to be at our best by helping these Rohingyan people."