Home to Bilolea

Home to Bilolea

A popular campaign on behalf of a family of asylum seekers has been successful, but government asylum seeker policy appears to remain unchanged.

A family held in immigration detention is expected to head home to Bilolea after the swearing in of the Albanese Labor Government.

The Nadesalingams were removed from their home in March 2018 because Priya’s visa had expired and Nades’s refugee status claim was rejected by the government.

The couple and their daughters, Kopika and Tharnicaa, have spent the past four years in detention — in Melbourne, on Christmas Island, and in Perth while their case was heard.

New Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he believed the case had gone on enough, at too high a cost to the family and taxpayers.

“It will be consistent with my view that you can have strong borders without being weak on humanity,” Mr Albanese said.

“The cost to the health, frankly of these two young girls and their mum and dad — but the economic cost to the Australian taxpayers — has been extraordinary and that is why there needs to be a clear resolution of these issues.”

During the election campaign, the Labor Party promised to issue a visa to allow the family to stay. The Nadesalingam family have the support of their local community, who started a popular campaign to see them returned home.

Asylum seeker boat turned back

However, the incoming government has continued the previous Coalition government’s policy of towing asylum seeker boats back to sea, provided it is deemed safe to do so. The first boat towback took place on 24 May, when a suspected asylum seeker vessel was returned to Sri Lanka.

The move has been condemned by asylum seeker advocates.

Human Rights Watch’s Australia’s Sophie McNeill recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that the reported turn-back was a “violation” of Australia’s legal obligations to not return people to places where their lives may be threatened.

“Implementing a blanket ‘turn back the boats’ policy is not legal or humane,” she said.

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