Looming Tamil family deportation prompts Aussie rallies to 'let them stay'

Cheryl Sanders
September 2, 2019

Nadesalingam, his wife Priya, and their two Australian-born daughters, were held briefly at a Darwin military base after a last minute injunction to stop their deportation from Melbourne back to Sri Lanka. "It is the reason Sri Lanka was the first country I visited after the election, to make sure we can keep these boats stopped", he told the Courier-Mail. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!

Amalraj Selesteen, 32, of Kilburn, spoke at the city rally, urging the Government to allow the family to remain in Australia.

Albanese called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to "have a discussion" with Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

"The kids. they are born in Australia".

Dan Coxen's daughters Emily 4 and Charlotte 6 went to playgroup with Kopika and Tharunicaa in Biloela
Dan Coxen's daughters Emily 4 and Charlotte 6 went to playgroup with Kopika and Tharunicaa in Biloela

"This is senseless cruelty, this is cruelty for the sake of being cruel", federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale told reporters at a rally in Melbourne on Sunday.

"Now - at a time when there are increasing push factors come out of Sri Lanka - the worst possible thing you can do is to. send a message which says: 'You know what, if you come illegally to Australia and the courts say you don't have a claim and the government say you don't have a claim, then the government just might make an exception because there's been a public reaction", he said on Monday.

"This is a minister in Peter Dutton taking pleasure in the suffering of others, that's what going on here".

However, a Federal Court on Friday extended an interim injunction against the deportation until Wednesday, following which the aircraft on which the family was travelling to Sri Lanka was grounded before it left the Australian airspace.

Holding signs reading, "Enough is Enough", crowds of supporters stood together chanting, "bring them home" and "let them stay".

Dutton's intervention comes as lawyers make a last-ditch effort in the federal circuit court to prevent the deportation of the family who are now being held in detention on Christmas Island.

"In every case the detail is scrutinised and on compassionate grounds yearly we help literally thousands of people including the primary applicant as well as their family members", Mr Dutton said. "I think we should also be listening to them", he told media.

Protest at King George Square for the Tamil family sent to Christmas Island.

"I understand the compassion shown by many, but we have to look at this case on its merit".

Friends and supporters issued a statement on Saturday morning saying they were "devastated" to hear the Bilo family - so-called after the central Queensland town they had been living in - had arrived about 2am at a detention centre on the island located northwest of Australia.

In a tearful interview with AAP over the phone on Friday, the couple implored Mr Dutton to grant them and their children Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, a safe future in Australia.

Asked whether boat arrival details would now be released on a routine basis, he said: "The government releases information as it believes it's important to do so".

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