A Tamil asylum seeking family have been transported from Australia to Christmas Island, where they’ll stay until at least Wednesday.
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.
Nadesalingam and Priya came to Australia separately, and illegally by boat, to escape Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2012 and 2013.
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After exhausting all legal avenues to stay in the country with their daughters, the entire family was ordered to leave after their bridging visas expired.
While the deportation was underway, a dramatic injunction was granted by a federal judge via phone late on Thursday night.
The plane then landed in Darwin, around 2.00am yesterday morning (Friday August 30), and the family were moved to a hotel nearby.
Yesterday, a Melbourne court ordered the government not to expel the youngest child until an asylum claim hearing on Wednesday.
The family have since been transported from Darwin to Christmas Island, where they’ll wait until the hearing.
The only person in a position to do something is Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
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.
“We are begging him to listen to us.
“We are scared what will happen in Sri Lanka.
“We want him to give our life back,” they said through an interpreter.
But Minister Dutton is remaining firm amidst building pressure on social media to let the family stay, so as not to split them up.
“I would like the family to accept that they are not refugees, they’re not owed protection by our country,” he told the Channel 9.
Mr Dutton says this deportation has been years in the making and no one should be surprised by it.
He also said the couple had been warned prior to having children in Australia that they would not be allowed to stay.
“They’ve got a lot of support online because there are children involved,” he told Adelaide radio 5AA.
“They want to stay and they will continue to push their argument, their case.”
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— HometoBilo (@HometoBilo) August 30, 2019