Qld Tamil family sent offshore despite reprieve

 

A TAMIL asylum seeker family has been transported to Christmas Island after being given a reprieve against deportation from Australia until Wednesday.

Supporters said they lost contact with the family on Friday night, and learned just after 2am that they had arrived at a detention centre on the island, northwest of Australia.

The family's lawyers also claim they were not informed of the plan.

In a statement the Home to Bilo group said the family's solicitor Carina Ford had been notified of the move in a notice received from the immigration department during the night.

Tamil asylum seekers Nadesalingnam, wife Priya, and their Australian-born daughters Dharuniga and Kopiga. Picture: Twitter
Tamil asylum seekers Nadesalingnam, wife Priya, and their Australian-born daughters Dharuniga and Kopiga. Picture: Twitter

Priya, her husband Nadesalingam and their Australian-born children Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, had been held at a Darwin military base.

Priya was able to make contact with family and friends when they arrived at Christmas Island.

"My children have been separated from their world," she said.

"This is the second flight in as many days under the cover of darkness, taking this family even further away from the support of the community that loves them," family friend Rebekah Holt said.

A view of the detention centre when it was in use.
A view of the detention centre when it was in use.

The move comes after a judge issued a last-minute injunction to halt their deportation from Melbourne to Sri Lanka on Thursday night.

The family landed in Darwin after the order was made and were taken off the plane.

On Friday, there was another glimmer of hope.

A Melbourne court ordered the government not to expel the youngest child until a further hearing on Wednesday.

The family's legal team say only Tharunicaa is protected under the ruling because her claims for asylum protections have never been assessed.

The rest of her family could be expelled as their legal avenues have been exhausted but Ms Ford said Australia would be condemned if it split up the family.

Despite mounting community pressure, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is refusing to budge.

"I would like the family to accept that they are not refugees, they're not owed protection by our country," he told the NineNetwork on Friday.


Mr Dutton said the deportation had been years in the making and should surprise no-one, least of all the couple who had been warned prior to having children that they would not be allowed to stay.

Staff from Serco wait at the door of a secure apartment at Mercure Hotel in Darwin before moving the Tamil family back to airport. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images.
Staff from Serco wait at the door of a secure apartment at Mercure Hotel in Darwin before moving the Tamil family back to airport. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images.


Kiwi team ‘adopts’ drought-stricken town

premium_icon Kiwi team ‘adopts’ drought-stricken town

A New Zealand sporting team has adopted a drought-stricken Northern NSW town to...

Goonellabah medical centre manager wins prestigious award

premium_icon Goonellabah medical centre manager wins prestigious award

She's been at the centre for more than 15 years

Man charged for allegedly shooting puppy with an arrow

Man charged for allegedly shooting puppy with an arrow

A veterinary surgeon said a beloved puppy had to be euthanised