Asylum seeker family threatened with deportation

Asylum seeker family threatened with deportation

A family seeking asylum in Australia have had their deportation stalled after a dramatic legal intervention.

The family consist of Priya and Nadesalingam, and their two daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa. Aged four and two respectively, they were both born in Australia.

On Friday morning, Labor’s Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Kristina Keneally, called upon Prime Minister Scott Morrison to allow the family to stay, in accordance with his Christian faith.

“The Prime Minister is a father and I appeal to him as a parent and as a Christian to look into his heart and decide what the generous Christian response here is,” she said.

“This is an opportunity for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to show what Christian leadership looks like. It is compassion. It is welcome.”

“It is a story of the Good Samaritan and the people of Biloela have been showing that by their advocacy and their fierce determination to return this family of four home to that community.”

The family live in Biloela, a small rural town in Central Queensland. The town’s community have been calling for their release.

The family, who are Tamils, arrived separately by boat in 2012 and 2013. They say that they fear returning to Sri Lanka due to past family links to the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The immigration department argues that their status has been assessed over a number of years.

They were last night placed on a flight, but landed in Darwin. A court injunction is currently preventing them from being deported.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has suggested that the family are not refugees and don’t deserve Australia’s protection. “I would like the family to accept that they are not refugees, they’re not owed protection by our country,” he said.

The Prime Minister has mentioned his faith in a few public settings before, including calling on Australians to pray for rain to help drought affected farmers.

The orders made by Judge Heather Riley state that the Minister for Immigration be restrained from removing the applicant from the Commonwealth of Australia until noon on Friday. At a hearing, Justice Bromberg granted an injunction that will restrain Mr Dutton from removing two year old Tharnuicaa from Australia until 4pm on Wednesday.

Supporters of the family are calling the offices of Dutton and Immigration Minister David Coleman. Supporters are also tweeting using the hashtags #hometobilo and #HomeToBiloela. A Change.org petition calling on the government to let the family stay currently has more than 200,000 signatures.
 
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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