On 28 June 2012, the Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) and the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (Chris Bowen) announced that the Government had invited Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC AFC (Ret’d), the former chief of Australia’s defence force, to lead an expert panel to provide a report on the best way forward for Australia to prevent asylum seekers risking their lives on dangerous boat journeys to Australia. As well as offshore processing, this commissioned report also recommends Australia's refugee intake should be increased.
- Establish offshore processing facilities in Nauru and PNG as part of a "comprehensive regional network".
- Pursue talks on the Malaysian solution but seek more reassurances about the treatment of people who are sent there.
- Increase co-operation with Indonesia on joint surveillance, law enforcement, and search and rescue.
- Increase Australia's humanitarian intake from 13,000 to 20,000 places a year, rising to 27,000 within five years.
- Those who arrive by boat should not be eligible to sponsor family members to join them.
- Consider turning back boats in the future but only if operational, safety and legal conditions are met.
- Future policy should be driven by a "sense of humanity as well as fairness".
The Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers was released on 13 August 2012.