The deportation case of a beloved refugee couple from Biloela in Queensland and their Australian born daughters is being heard on Friday. Picture: AAP
The deportation case of a beloved refugee couple from Biloela in Queensland and their Australian born daughters is being heard on Friday. Picture: AAP

Tamil family verdict delayed again

A TAMIL couple and their two young daughters may not learn their fate for another two weeks, with a court delaying the case until more evidence is filed.

Justice Mordy Bromberg today ruled that a hearing be scheduled for September 18, and that the injunction preventing the youngest daughter's removal be extended until 4pm that day.

The Federal Court in Melbourne continues to hear the case of the refugee family from Sri Lanka, who have become beloved members of the community in the small Queensland town of Biloela.

Their future rested on their youngest child, two-year-old Tharunicaa, who was born in the country. The girl is currently detained on Christmas Island with her parents Priya and Nadesalingam and four-year-old sister Kopika.

The family was under enormous mental strain as they awaited the outcome of their desperate battle against deportation, a friend said.

The family's supporters are also worried they could be hit with an "impossibly heavy debt" if their bid to stay in Australia falls short.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre senior lawyer Nooshee Mogadam said every time a person seeking asylum appeals a court decision, the federal minister seeks court costs from them if the matter is dismissed.

They can also rack up a debt for their deportation.

Ms Fredericks has set up campaign on crowd-funding platform GoFundMe to raise $300,000, with people so far donating more than $60,000.

Despite widespread support for the family to be allowed to remain in Australia, the Morrison Government has refused to intervene.

 

Supporters of the Tamil asylum seekers and their Australian-born children at a rally in Melbourne last Sunday. Picture: AAP
Supporters of the Tamil asylum seekers and their Australian-born children at a rally in Melbourne last Sunday. Picture: AAP

The Federal Court has ordered the Government not to deport the family until 4pm on Friday so it can continue hearing Tharunicaa's case for protection, with other courts previously finding her older sister and parents do not qualify.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday he would accept the court's decision but again pointed to previous court rulings that found "there is no asylum claim here".

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese travelled to Biloela on Wednesday, where the family had been living on a temporary visa. He said the Government should intervene on the basis that Nades worked at the Biloela meatworks, operated by Teys - a business that couldn't source enough local workers to operate.

A senior government official told Seven News on Thursday that as an employee of Teys, Nades could apply from Sri Lanka for a work visa under, which would allow the family to return, should their bid to stay fail. A Teys spokesperson told Seven they would be "happy" to sponsor Nades.

 

Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2. Picture: AAP
Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2. Picture: AAP

 

"Anybody offshore can make application for a visa if they meet the conditions of the visa," Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said.

"The usual checks would be in place but this family would be eligible to make application offshore, as thousands of people do each year."

Priya and Nades settled in Biloela, where they had their two children, after arriving separately by boat in 2012 and 2013 following Sri Lanka's civil war. Nades fears his links to Hindu Tamil Tigers insurgents, who battled Sri Lanka's majority Buddhist government during the war, means he could face persecution if he goes back.

But the Federal Government says Nades has been back to Sri Lanka several times and that undermines his claim he faces a dangerous situation. The Government is fighting Tharunicaa's claim for protection, saying it's "futile".

Dramatic scenes unfolded last week when the flight the family was on under order of deportation took off from Melbourne, only to be instructed to land in Darwin when their lawyer obtained an injunction blocking the removal. They have since been on Christmas Island.

Prior to last week's flight, the family had spent 18 months in detention in Melbourne after being dragged from their home in Biloela by immigration officers in a raid.

 

Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2. Picture: AAP
Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2. Picture: AAP

 

Shadow home affairs minister, Kristina Keneally, accused Mr Dutton of only moving them offshore "to get them out of sight of a sympathetic Australian public".

Mr Dutton has accused Priya and Nadesalingam of unfairly dragging their two young, Australian-born children through drawn-out court appeals in an ill-fated bid to stay in the country.

"I think it is unfair to the children in this case where the parents were given a very definite decision that they weren't going to stay here in Australia many years ago and the kids have been drawn through - or dragged through - that process in the subsequent years," he said.


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