NEW ACCOMMODATIONS: Tamil asylum seekers Nades, wife Priya, and their Australian-born daughters Dharuniga and Kopika.
NEW ACCOMMODATIONS: Tamil asylum seekers Nades, wife Priya, and their Australian-born daughters Dharuniga and Kopika.

Fear setting in: Biloela family’s court date looms

Life in detention has been difficult for a Biloela family, but the waiting and worrying is likely to amplify when their case is heard in Federal Court later this month.

They will be almost 5000 kms away from where the decision is made that will likely determine if they're deported to Sri Lanka.

The island's remote location means a video feed is unlikely.

The family's lawyer, Carina Ford, travelled to Christmas Island this week to receive instructions and give updates on the progress of the case.

"We think we have good prospects," she said.

Had the family not been sent to Christmas Island and stayed in detention in Melbourne, she said a video link would have been possible.

 

A supplied image obtained on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, shows Kopika (right) and Tharunicaa, the daughters of the Biloela Tamil family at the detention centre on Christmas Island.
A supplied image obtained on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, shows Kopika (right) and Tharunicaa, the daughters of the Biloela Tamil family at the detention centre on Christmas Island.

 

Instead she will relay updates back to Christmas Island with the help of a Tamil interpreter.

She said it was Federal Government policy to only hold children in detention as a last resort.

Whether the family's future lies in Sri Lanka or Biloela hinges on two-year-old Tharunicaa's right to apply for a protection visa.

Ms Ford said it was an unusual case, not least because of the amount of media attention it has received.

The use of Christmas Island as a quarantine centre for Australians affected by the coronavirus outbreak also prompted health concerns for the family.

Ms Ford mentioned issues such as access to masks and hand sanitiser, sharing vehicles, cross contamination of food and staff working between the quarantine area and where the family is staying. People held in quarantine are in a separate detention centre.

Family friend Angela Fredericks said fear was starting to set in as the case draws closer, but mother Priya and father Nades were trying to stay strong for their girls.

She will fly to Christmas Island to lend support next week.

The case is scheduled for hearing on February 21 and 25


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