Nadesalingam holding 9-month-old Dharuniga and Priya with 2-year-old Kopiga.
Nadesalingam holding 9-month-old Dharuniga and Priya with 2-year-old Kopiga.

Sri Lankan family loses deportation appeal

FRIENDS of the Biloela family who lost their deportation appeal yesterday are holding on to hope for an intervention to allow them to stay in Australia.

Asylum seekers Priya, Nades and their two daughters Kopika, 3, and Tharunicaa, 1, remain at Broadmeadows detention centre in Melbourne after their latest bid for freedom was rejected

Federal Circuit Court Justice Caroline Kirton yesterday morning rejected a deportation appeal by Priya and her eldest daughter.

Speaking to Priya on the phone after the verdict was handed down, former Biloela woman Simone Cameron said the mother of two was heartbroken at the thought of further detention and potentially being forced back to Sri Lanka.

"She was really just inconsolable and saying that they just miss Biloela so much ... Kopika just asking to go back,” Ms Cameron said.

"Today is a tough day for them.”

She said the Tamil family did not attend yesterday's hearing but were represented by their lawyer Kajaliny Ranjith.

Ms Cameron said the family's supporters would continue to call on Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to intervene and allow the family back to Biloela.

A statement from the Department of Home Affairs said it was aware of the court's decision.

The spokesperson said years of comprehensive assessment by the Department, tribunals and courts found that the family consistently did not meet Australia's protection obligations.

"Foreign nationals who do not hold a valid visa are expected to depart voluntarily to their country of citizenship,” the spokesperson said.

"Those unwilling to depart voluntarily will be subject to detention and removal from Australia.”

The Tamil couple came to Australia by boat separately in 2012 and 2013 and settled in Biloela.

But Priya's bridging visa has since expired, leaving the family's future in Australia uncertain.

The Department did not address questions regarding if Mr Dutton would intervene with the case to allow them back to Biloela or when family and friends would hear his thoughts on the case.

Previous appeals against deportation by family members through the refugee tribunal and lower courts had failed.

They have 21 days to appeal the judgement.


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