Contributed by Ben Wilson
Prida, Nadesalingham (Nades) and their daughters Kopika and Tharunicaa won an important victory, after being put in a plane for deportation last Friday. a judge ruled that the Department of Home Affairs acted wrongly. This eleventh hour ruling meant they left the flight in Darwin.
The family’s ordeal is far from over. The stropping of the flight was only an injunction. They are in detention again. No time was wasted is in taking them to Christmas island, which ias well away from public attention.
The threat of deportation remains.
Supporters around Australia are campaigning for their release.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who usually has a bipartisan approach to border protection, said he had raised the issue with the Prime Minister and suggested Mr Dutton needed to intervene in the case.
“The fact that the family were moved from Darwin to Christmas Island to get them out of public view is, I think, just quite extraordinary,” he said.
“What was the cost of that move for the Australian taxpayer?”
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale said the treatment of the family was “senseless cruelty”.
“It is barbaric, it is cruel and it needs to end,” he said.
The Tamil family had been living in the Queensland town called Biloela, where Nades worked in the local meatworks, and Priya became active in a local church. Their two daughters were born in this town. But the family visa expired in March last year, after which they were apprehended by the Border Force. They have been in detention ever since.
Bring Pria, Nades and the girls home
Video by Home to Bilo
Although the war in Sri Lanka has ended, Prida and Nades claim they face being persecuted if they are sent back. Tamils are often taken into custody, tortured and sometimes disappeared.
Nades says he had been forced to join the LTTE, otherwise known as the Tamil Tigers, and this makes him a target.
Senior minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and the depatment have used the media to suggest these are not genuine refuges and that they came to Australia in a boat for economic reasons. These are the grounds on which the family has been denied asylum.
The decision is political. Influenced by the government’s perceived need to put out its tough on refugees image, more than by the risk faced by this particular family.
Inflexibility in the handling of the case has underscored the inhumanity of the government’s policy. It makes the Australian government look heartless in the way it treats human beings in a difficult situation. This is drawing attention. Many Australians do not like to see our nation being portrayed as lacking in humanity and carrying out human rights violations.
Biloela residents have joined the cause and say that these people are valued members of their community. They want them back.
There is a call across Australia for a humane refugee policy, which replaces the system of putting human beings in isolated concentration camps and inflicts on them treatment that can accurately be described as torture. This policy would allow most to be brought into the Australian community and ensure that the application process is fair, carried out within a reasonable amount of time and properly hear the voice of the refugee.
In the meantime, campaigners are fighting to stop this family form being deported. There is an appeal for people to call their local member of parliament via this link.