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Biloela Tamil family spared deportation, but remains in detention

A Tamil asylum seeker family remains held on Christmas Island fighting deportation to Sri Lanka.

A Tamil family seeking asylum in Australia will remain on Christmas Island, denied from returning to their Queensland country home of Biloela, after a Federal Court ruling today.

Today the full Federal Court upheld a previous ruling relating to the immigration status of their youngest child – preventing the family being deported, but forcing them to remain on Christmas Island.

Priya and Nades Murugappan and their Australian-born daughters Kopika, 5, and Tharunicaa, 3, had been living in Biloela in central Queensland, but in 2018 immigration officials raided the family home and moved them to a Melbourne detention centre.

They were later moved to detention on Christmas Island after a last-minute injunction on an attempt to deport them to Sri Lanka.

Today’s appeal related to the youngest member of the family, Tharunicaa, who was born in Australia.

Australian-born daughters Tharunicaa, 3, and Kopika, 5.

In April last year Justice Mark Moshinsky ruled Tharunicaa had not been given procedural fairness in applying for an Australian visa.

The ruling halted their deportation to Sri Lanka.

The Department of Home Affairs appealed the decision, but the full Federal Court upheld it this morning.

Family supporters in Biloela welcomed today’s court ruling, and called on Federal ministers to grant the Murugappan family a visa that would allow their immediate release.

“Today’s outcome is a clear signal to the Australian Government that this family deserves to be allowed back home to Biloela,” the group Bring Priya, Nades and their girls home to Biloela posted on Facebook.

“It has been nearly three years since our friends were taken from their home, from a loving community, and from safety.

“Since then, there have been dozens of days in court and over 1,000 days without freedom.

“All of this suffering could have been avoided if the Prime Minister and his colleagues had shown some compassion.

“Our politicians have always had the power to bring Priya, Nades and the girls home to Bilo with the stroke of a pen.”

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